I use iTunes all the time in the grid view, showing artists. If I click on one, all tracks of this artist are displayed, grouped by albums, sorted after the album name (alphabetically).

Now I click on the table header to sort for year instead and start playing one album.

After the last song of that album has played, the next album that will play is not the next one in the list, but the next one alphabetically.


Album A, 2003

Album B, 2010

Album C, 2005

When playing A, I want iTunes to play C next, then B. But it always will play B, even if I have it sorted after the year.

3 Answers 3


As of iTunes 10 (or possibly 9), the main library window has the option to do exactly what you want. You need to have it in Album List mode (View menu -> as Album list; or the 2nd option in the view controller:

iTunes view options

Then select the "Album by ..." pulldown and select Album by Artist/Year: librarypulldown

You should be all set and have a nice organized list of albums sorted by artist and year.

  • Sweet! Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the good description.
    – w.m
    Aug 26, 2011 at 15:22
  • This also works for grid view. Select Album view, right click Albums, select "order albums", select first criterion (i.e. Artist), then select second criterion "In Artist -> by Year"
    – Martin
    Jan 15, 2012 at 13:04

Put them in a playlist and then sort them by year. iTunes will then play them chronological order.

I just checked this with Duran Duran's Rio (1982), Red Carpet Massacre (2007) and Planet Earth Single (1981) albums. Sorted by album in a playlist they play Planet Earth Single -> Red Carpet Massacre -> Rio. Sorted by Year they play Planet Earth Single -> Rio -> Red Carpet Massacre.

  • Yes I guess that would work, thank you. But a solution where I wouldn't have to create a playlist every time would be nice.
    – w.m
    Aug 26, 2011 at 14:48
  • 1
    You can sort by year in the Music view but there's no way to keep albums by artist next to each other with this sort. The playlist just gets other artists out of the way. iTunes only supports one custom level of sorting.
    – Ian C.
    Aug 26, 2011 at 15:00
  • That's what you think, Ian. :) Aug 26, 2011 at 15:21
  • That's pretty cool @VxJasonxV! I had cursed iTunes single-level sorting in the past. Too bad you can multi-sort on random fields.
    – Ian C.
    Aug 26, 2011 at 15:56

In iTunes 11, this option can be found under View --> View Options

View Options Menu Screenshot

The options will look a bit differently depending on the current view mode of the library, for instance in "Artists" mode it will look like this:

Options pane in artists mode

Albums can be sorted by year this way and will then be played in chronological order by iTunes.

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