Are you the kind of person who loves to instantly know everything about the song being played, but need a refreshing change from Shazam? This article provides a list of amazing alternative apps for music recognition.
A Little About Shazam…
Have you ever found yourself humming a song you heard earlier on the radio, whose melody you can distinctly remember, but its lyrics and even title, is a blur? Or, have you heard a song playing in a shop, or blaring out of a passing car at a traffic light, and thought to yourself, “That song sounds great, I wonder what it’s called.”? Shazam would then, undoubtedly be one of your favorite mobile apps, because all you have to do to identify the song is to open the app, and keep your phone close to the sound so that it can record a little of the song and give you the answer. And of course, Shazam has been around for many years, reinventing itself whenever necessary, so as to meet the requirements of the day.
Did You Know ?
Shazam started out as a direct-to-customer call-in service for people living in the UK, where users would dial the code, 2580, and hold up their phone to the sound sample. The music would be recognized and the information would be sent to the user via an SMS. During the late 90s when this company was founded, the mobile application platform was not even considered worthy of investors’ time.
Working of Shazam
Shazam uses a technique known as acoustic fingerprinting to recognize music. The database of music that can be recognized has been compiled as a result of tie-ups with various entertainment companies, including online music store, Beatport.
Did You Know ?
Shazam’s app for iOS was one of the first that were available in the App Store, when iPhone 2.0 was launched in 2008.
Limitations of Shazam
Shazam does has its limitations. For example, it cannot recognize a user-hummed or sung track. Although die-hard loyalists of this app may disagree with us, its repeatedly-questioned accuracy and speed, and the limit on the number tracks that can be searched for by a user per day in the free version, which was later removed, has put many users on the quest for alternative mobile apps that can be used for the same purpose.
Today, mobile apps that recognize songs are expected to serve purposes greater than their original premise. They provide complete album information, a link to download the song from iTunes, song lyrics (sometimes also in real time), the ability to share the song on social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), support to synchronize with major music streaming portals like Spotify, Pandora, etc., a list of other similar songs, or songs that other users are listening to, and so on. We have compiled a list of the best song identifier alternatives to Shazam that are available today.
The Top 5 Alternatives to Shazam
Earlier known as Midomi, SoundHound is a music recognition app available for literally
every mobile platform, right from iOS and Android to Windows Mobile and BlackBerry OS. It is free to download if you do not mind banner advertisements, or else you can download the premium variant of the app, which costs USD 6.99, where you would not be bothered by any ads.
Difference Between Soundhound and Shazam
Unlike Shazam, which uses acoustic fingerprinting, SoundHound uses QbH (Query by Humming), a completely different algorithm altogether, that allows even speech, singing, and even humming to be recognized.
You can even use it as a fundamental music search engine by typing in a song’s title
or lyrics to get results. The app returns not just the song’s title, but also lyrics and album
information, links to YouTube videos, the download page on iTunes, and ringtones if available. A feature known as LiveLyrics lets you play songs from your phone, and lyrics will be provided in real-time, and one can even jump to that point of the song where the lyrics that he or she double-taps on, are being sung.
SoundHound is extremely popular because of its reputation when it comes to speed, accuracy, and flexibility, its range of features (it even lets you synchronize with your iTunes library, or hear the song immediately on one of many platforms like Pandora, Spotify, and the like), and as of 2018, the app has been downloaded by more than 300 million users. You can find this app on Google Play and iOS
2. Sound Search for Google Play
If you find too many features overwhelming, with each competing app trying to outdo the other and digressing way too much from the basic premise of song recognition, Sound Search for Google Play is recommended for you. The database that songs are matched with, is the music library of Google Play, and though it is extensive, it is limited to this. It can be downloaded for free from Google Play, and works with devices running Android 4.0 or higher.
It is less of an app, and more of a widget that can be accessed from the Home Screen itself. It can even be accessed from the Lock Screen in devices running Android 4.2 and higher. The app works in the same way as Shazam; the mobile phone needs to be brought in the vicinity of the sound, and it will recognize the song.
The app lets you directly buy the song from Google Play, and add it to your Play Music playlist. Although minimalistic in design, this app has a reputation for very good speed as well as accuracy.
Although musiXmatch is primarily marketed as the largest lyrics catalog in the world, after it was equipped with Gracenote’s sound recognition technology, MusicID (which also powers Sony’s copyrighted TrackID software, and employs the acoustic fingerprinting algorithm), it takes song recognition to a whole new level.
Not only can songs be identified with the help of musixmatch, but thanks to its own sprawling database of lyrics, it also provides lyrics for every song in real-time so that one can sing along. It also provides lyrics for a video being played on your device, or a song you are listening to on Spotify.
Musixmatch is not just compatible with the various mobile environment, but is also available for every possible platform such as PCs, tablet devices, Google Glass, and other wearable devices. Musixmatch with MusicID quickly gained popularity because it was released around the time when Shazam used to charge users exorbitantly for song identification. Moreover, Gracenote’s song recognition techniques are both speedy as well as accurate (as they have tie-ups with all major entertainment companies), and power many other noteworthy interactive systems. Most importantly, this app is free to download and hence is favored by many users.
A decade ago, when Shazam was still just a call-in service, Sony Ericsson mobile handsets came with a built-in app, called TrackID, that allowed you to do precisely what the celebrated music recognition apps of the day can; recognize a song that is playing around you, by recording a sample, and sending it over the internet, and searching for matches in a database (Gracenote’s MusicID in this case).
This service was free, except internet data usage charges of course, and the application could not be “downloaded” (as this was before the era of smartphones and online application stores). It was a privilege exclusive to Sony Ericsson phones. TrackID was incorporated by Sony later on even in their BRAVIA HD TVs, and of course, it came as a proprietary app with their Xperia mobile phone series. The app is now also available for all Android devices on the Play Store, and allows users to identify music, purchase the song, or take a look at what songs other users are trying to track down currently.
5. MusicID with Lyrics
Developed by Gravity Mobile Inc., this app was earlier a paid app on both Google Play as well as the App Store, but is now free to download.
Like quintessential music recognition apps, it ticks off all the boxes; identifying songs quickly and accurately, links to YouTube videos, the ability to share what you have identified on Facebook and Twitter, or by email, the ability to save a history of songs identified, Similar Songs (a feature that suggests songs you would like based on what you have requested to identify), lyric snippets, song previews, and links to places from where the song can be purchased.
In the face of Shazam and its shenanigans, MusicID with Lyrics emerged as a refreshing alternative, and since the release of its first version, it has evolved to a level that it can stand up to any major music recognition software and give it stiff competition.
Music recognition technology is developing by the day, and apps for the same are now being made available on all platforms, including on Mac/PC, and wearable devices. Two notable applications for the Mac/PC platform are Audiggle and Tunify, which allow users access to all the major features available in Shazam and its competing mobile apps.
The above list of mobile music identification apps are our favorites; however, if you have used and obtained extraordinary results with any other apps, do let us know with a comment.