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Justin Sanchez
Justin Sanchez
7,131 Points

How do you use an API token?

Hi guys, so I'm a little stuck on figuring out how to use an API token from Spotify. I'm trying to develop a Spotify playlist generator where you type in the artist's name and it will create a little playlist for you. I'm able to interact with their server but I keep getting the 401 unauthorized code. So I have the API token and now I don't know how to have it authenticate me. Any ideas?

I read you have to do something with the headers but I'm also stumped on that.

app.apiUrl = 'https://api.spotify.com/v1';
var accessToken = '[private_info]';

//Go to spotify and get the artists
app.searchArtist = (artistName) => $.ajax({
    url: `${app.apiUrl}/search`,
    headers: {
        'Authorization':'Bearer ' + accessToken
    method: 'GET',
    dataType: 'json',
    data: {
        q: artistName,
        type: 'artist'

3 Answers

Dale Severude
.a{fill-rule:evenodd;}techdegree seal-36
Dale Severude
Full Stack JavaScript Techdegree Graduate 71,349 Points

Hi Justin,

A 401 error means you have invalid credentials. With your accessToken variable, I am assuming you have a valid key somewhere that you are passing into this variable. If not, paste it into the variable, but don't show it here.

It is possible your key doesn't work for a few hours after receiving it. See the Spotify help section for examples of setting up your key correctly.


Justin Sanchez
Justin Sanchez
7,131 Points

This was actually case. *Developer tools' Network tab said it had expired which was why I was getting the 401 error. Resolved it by refreshing and obtaining a new key. Thank you!

Steven Parker
Steven Parker
229,921 Points

:mailbox_with_mail: Hi, I got your request.

I haven't set up a Spotify client myself, but looking briefly at the documentation, I noticed that the authorization scheme has several layers. Your user keys are apparently different from the access key used to make queries, but can be used to obtain a temporary access key.

Take a look at this page describing the authorization code flow and see if you possibly skipped a step or two in setting up the authorization for a query.

Justin Sanchez
Justin Sanchez
7,131 Points

Yes the access token doesn't last very long. Sadly only lasts for a short amount of time. Thanks for the flow chart I'll have to look into this more myself.

So far from what I understand is you have to meet the parameters of each request. For example, if you wanted to request and artist's album(https://developer.spotify.com/web-api/get-artists-albums/), you would have to check the documentation and fill out the headers required in order to make the request.