Jun 19, 2021 | Updated: 08:38 PM EDT

The Best Apps For Identifying Music

Nov 17, 2013 05:49 PM EST

We’ve all been there: you’re sitting in a restaurant, or driving in a car when that song you’ve heard countless times comes on and you struggle to find the name of it, or at least the artist, but you’re at a loss for a name. Your worries are over, because the Google Play store is filled with apps to help you identify a song by launching the application while the song is playing. After recording a portion of the song, your app will send the recording to an off-site database where it will be matched to a song, then sent back to your device with artist, album, and track information. While all of these apps essentially do the same basic process, some are better than others in their respective areas. My three favorites are Shazam, SoundHound, and Google Play Music’s built-in music finder.

Shazam is the most popular of the three and has been around longer. As far as accuracy goes, it’s second-to-none, however, your recording will have to be the original, as Shazam does not recognize live recordings. One of the best features of Shazam is its options displayed after tagging a sound: you can share your tag on Facebook or Google+, watch the music video on YouTube, view artist biographies, or see the lyrics. All of your tags are saved for the future unless you decide to take advantage of these options at a later time. Interestingly enough, Shazam will record and tag a TV show that you may be doing, and recently identified The Colbert Report for me by only hearing Stephen’s voice. In my personal experience, Shazam has always been responsive and accurate, even when listening to fringe indie music.

SoundHound is another popular option, and although less speedy, it offers a home screen widget to press to immediately launch the app and begin recording. As far as performance goes, SoundHound functions the same, and it has the same post-tagging options. However, the lyrics have a scroll feature, which is neat, but not too game-changing. The really exciting feature here is SoundHound’s ability to identify a song through your humming, singing, or recording a live performance. So if you know a few lines from that song you can’t remember, sing a couple and SoundHound will help you out. If you can’t even remember any lyrics, then hum into the mic on your device and watch the title come right up onto the screen.

Google Play Music now has a widget that launches much like SoundHound’s, except it launches much quicker. Play music checks the recording against its own database, then gives you the option to purchase the song, but only from the Play store. However, I have noticed that since Google has a massive library to check with, it tends to be more accurate than its competitors. Once tagged, your Play Music data will be tweaked to account for your liking of the type of music you tagged, and will give you suggestions for similar music.

All of these apps offer their own unique features, so which one you choose to use is entirely up to you and what you want to get out of it. Have you tried out any of these apps, or do you have another favorite? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

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