Have you ever experienced the frustration of having a song stuck in your head, but not being able to identify it? It’s a common situation where a catchy hook or a snippet of lyrics loops in your mind, but you struggle to remember the song or the artist. This annoying puzzle can occupy your thoughts for hours or even days, leaving you feeling helpless as you try to recall the elusive tune.
Fortunately, technology has come to the rescue with the development of song recognition tools in recent years. These advanced tools are capable of matching patterns in both music and lyrics, providing surprisingly accurate results with minimal input from the user.
Many of the tools discussed in this article serve a dual purpose—they can identify songs based on melodies or vocals, as well as recognize tracks from official recordings. While our main focus is on the former function, the additional music recognition capabilities of these tools can also prove to be valuable.
Personal Digital Assistants: Google Assistant and Siri
If you find yourself in the predicament of trying to identify a song, your trusted digital assistant can come to the rescue. Simply activate Google Assistant or Siri on your mobile device and ask, “What’s this song?” You can then attempt to sing, hum, or recite lyrics from the unidentified track.
Google Assistant and Siri will work their magic to identify the song based on your input. In our experience, Google Assistant excels at recognizing songs from fragmented sounds, while Siri often requires a few lines of lyrics for accurate identification. Of course, the success rate also depends on the quality of your vocal rendition.
Both digital assistants are effective at music identification when the song is playing within earshot—although in such instances, you likely already know the music that is being played, unless it’s part of a movie soundtrack or ambient music in a public setting.
Leading Music Recognition Apps: Shazam and SoundHound
When it comes to identifying music, Shazam and SoundHound stand out as the top apps in the market. You can download Shazam on Android and iOS, and SoundHound on Android and iOS. These apps excel at identifying songs playing in your vicinity, as well as extracting artist and track information from audio snippets.
Both Shazam and SoundHound prioritize music discovery, allowing you to simply tap a button on the app’s interface to initiate song recognition. Whether you hum, whistle, sing, or recite lyrics, these apps can swiftly match your input with the correct song and artist.
In our evaluations, SoundHound demonstrated slightly superior performance in recognizing songs based on our vocalizations compared to Shazam, although various factors can influence the accuracy of song identification.