Serious Shazam competitor that also does singing and humming
by on March 24, 2011
The market for music recognition apps has been pretty well dominated across mobile platforms by Shazam, which firmly established itself years ago as the go-to service for snaffling catches of tunes out of bars and TV programmes.
SoundHound boasts the same functionality as Shazam, but claims to do the job more quickly while requiring less input. In comparison to Shazam, SoundHound can match a song played into the iPhone microphone to an entry in its song database in as little as four seconds, and our tests did find it nippier than Shazam with a selection of songs from the T3 iTunes playlist.
However, when pitted against more obscure tracks, Shazam pulled ahead. We tried out SoundHound against Shazam using the TuneIn Radio app, picking digital stations from around the world that played exclusively local music, with some strange results. While listening to Chinese Top 40 stations, both apps could identify every song played (correctly, we assume – due to budgetary constraints T3 is lacking in a dedicated Chinese pop music expert). However, when listening to similar stations in Russia, Shazam could identify everything, while SoundHound shrugged and gave up on every single track. It’s hardly a laboratory test, but we’d say from that experience that Shazam looks to have the wider music database.
SoundHound’s other boast is that it can recognise songs sung or hummed into it and match them to tracks from its database. When we tested it, humming was a crapshoot – SoundHound either returned a dozen tracks we’d never heard of or came up empty. Singing, however, worked pretty well across a range of genres – something which only earns you the digital equivalent of dismissive chuckle if you try it with Shazam.
In the end, what separates Shazam from SoundHound is the former’s apparently larger database of songs. But if you’re forever getting tunes and melodies caught in your head, SoundHound comes up trumps for recognising our slightly ropey rendition of “Welcome to the Jungle”.
Download this app: SoundHound for iPhone
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