Have you ever heard music on the radio or while you were out shopping and wondered who that was? With an iphone and either of these two programs below, you can find out!
Shazam is the first contender. When you hear music you want to know the name of, you just launch the application and then click the small TAG NOW button in the upper right corner. The iphone will start to listen to whatever is playing around you as a pie chart fills up to show the deciphering progress. When it finds the result, it will buzz the iphone and display the artist, song title, a link to YouTube for the video (if it’s available) and a link to the iTunes store to purchase the song. Shazam does fairly well in crowded areas, and picked up songs that were playing in a busy toy store as well as a restaurant during dinner rush. The only problems with Shazam is that it displays ads all over the application, does not return good results on classical or jazz music, and it now requires iphone system software 3.0. But it is completely free, and correctly deciphers most mainstream music.
Midomi is the second contender. When you launch Midomi there is a giant WHATS THAT SONG button to click on. In a few seconds, Midomi will listen to your surroundings and show you the result of what it hears almost the same way that Shazam does. But with Midomi you get a massive increase in song recognition speed, no advertising clutter, and better recognition on jazz and classical music. Midomi picked up “Drop me off in Harlem” by Richard Wyands, “Symphony #40 in G minor” by Alberto Lizzio, and “Remember Tomorrow” by Mo’ Horizons when Shazam returned a “no idea” for each one of them. But Midomi missed “Symphony No. 25 in G minor” by Mozart and “Love Supreme, Pt. 2: Resolution” by John Coltrane. Then again, Shazam missed both of these, too. Midomi works just as well in crowded locations as Shazam does and correctly deciphers most mainstream music as well. For the vastly superior speed and for a slightly better classical and jazz recognition, Midomi will set you back $4.99.
Both programs let you post your finds to social networking sites like Twitter, view the music video on YouTube (if available) and email a “hey I like this” email with the song artist and album to whoever you want.
It comes down to whether you want to pay a little extra for speed and marginally better classical and jazz recognition, or use a free but slower application that works good enough with vocal performances.
I have both. Just in case.
Shazam: Three and 3/4 out of five stars
Midomi : Four out of five stars