In the ‘what’s that song?’ market, Shazam is king. But rightfully so? Perhaps not. There’s a new sheriff in town in the form of SoundHound, a music recognition app that not only identifies songs based on what it hears via the microphone in pubs, clubs and on TV, but also allows you to sing or hum a tune into your Android device’s microphone and get track and artist info, even song lyrics…
SoundHound scores points straight from the off for a beautifully designed interface that presents you with a gloriously simple big orange button to press to get on with tracking down your song straight away. Beneath the ‘What’s that song?’ button is a search bar for those who know their song title or artist info and want to type it into the app. Or the infinitely more rewarding and jaw-dropping ability to speak the artist’s name into the mic and see their back catalogue appear before your eyes. We tried to confuddle it with the exotically named Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – three times – but SoundHound got it bang on every time.
By and large, SoundHound recognises songs played to it in around four seconds, generally doing the job quicker than the well-established Shazam service. We only managed to confuse it once with a ‘proper’ audio search, with SoundHound identifying Serge Gainsbourg’s Je T’aime Moi Non Plus as the Tindersticks’ Tiny Tears – it’s worth mentioning that the song was part of an ad and the voiceover was more or less constant. But it’s SoundHound’s ability to identify tracks purely from a few hummed bars that puts it in a different league in our opinion, or it would if it weren’t for the fact that it’s hugely hit-and-miss. Generally more miss. Actually singing into the mic works better than humming, but requires you to be able to hold a tune and, let’s face it, some of us just can’t. By simple virtue of the rest of its functionality, however, we’d take this over Shazam any day of the week, despite the mammoth 12p asking price premium.
SoundHound offers two versions on Android Market: a free, ad-served app, or the paid-for, £3.11 premium functionality version.
The Bottom Line
Shazam-beating app that identifies music incredibly quickly. Its quirky ability to recognise tracks simply by humming or singing them into the mic adds wow factor.
Version reviewed 2.5.2
Requires Android 1.5 or higher