It’s happened to everyone: you’re shopping for groceries and suddenly realize you’re jumping to the music playing from the speakers. You take out your phone, but your app can’t figure out what song it is. The music ends and with it your peace of mind as you spend the rest of your life wondering what that song was.
When you hear a song you like, you need the best music recognition software to help you find it. These apps will tell you the name of a song after just a few seconds of listening, help you find where to buy it, and more.
SoundHound makes it easy for users to find exactly which button to press to identify the music: a big orange button right in the center of the app. If you’re running out of time (for example, if the song is almost over), you can simply say, “OK, Hound” and mark the song in the app.
One feature that really sets SoundHound apart from the competition is its ability to identify music based on humming or singing a song. If you can’t identify the song in time, try humming the melody on SoundHound. This gives you a second chance to recognize that distinctive beat you heard.
It includes the ability to tag songs so you can purchase them later, view lyrics, and more. In case you’re wondering, SoundHound also has its own voice assistant, but it’s no match for Google Assistant or Siri.
SoundHound is free and ad-supported, but if you want to get rid of the ads, you can purchase the premium version (called SoundHound Infinite) for $7. However, this doesn’t make much sense other than removing ads.
Shazam is one of the most popular music recognition programs. It’s packed with features to help you identify the music you’re listening to, as well as discover music by new artists you might not have heard of otherwise.
Country and city charts make it easy to find music from around the world. You can even tell Shazam to play music and simply jam to a provided mix. Shazam can also create a playlist for you based on music you’ve previously identified.
When it comes to music identification, Shazam has two modes. The first is what you’re most likely familiar with: just tap to identify a song. Another mode is much more interesting: Auto-Shazam. Instead of pressing a button, you long press to activate Auto-Shazam.
Auto-Shazam will automatically listen and identify music even when the app is not open. While this isn’t always the best option, it can be a great option if you find yourself in a place with unfamiliar music that you like.
Shazam is free to use, but is ad-supported. If you want to opt out of ads, you can do so for $3.
MusicID is a lesser-known app that doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as big names like Shazam, but it’s great at recognizing music. MusicID is a great choice for users who prefer minimalism, as the app only provides basic information without showing much else on the screen.
Just click to identify the song. When MusicID finds a tune for you, it gives you the option to purchase it from iTunes (although this now opens up in Apple Music). MusicID also allows you to annotate identified songs so you can remember where and why you identified a song.
MusicID also provides metadata about songs. For example, in the Michael Buble song identified earlier, it defines the genre, the mood, and even the background of the artist. It’s a great way to learn more about musicians you like.
Like MusicID, MusixMatch is a more specialized app than Shazam. It focuses solely on identifying songs and providing lyrics, but you can often find lyrics in multiple languages. As the song plays, the lyrics will be highlighted so you can follow along.
You can connect MusixMatch to your Apple Music library and follow the lyrics. If you don’t know the name of a song, but you remember a line from the song, you can search by just that information. More often than not, you’ll be able to find a pair.
A MusixMatch Premium subscription also offers many premium options. For $3 a month or about $36 a year, you’ll unlock party mode, an ad-free app, the ability to clear your music library with one click, and more.
Genius is a program for music lovers. It has music recognition capabilities and will let you follow the lyrics, but it also has many other features. You can watch videos and interviews with your favorite artists, search for new music, and more.
It’s worth noting that while Genius can identify music for you, it doesn’t store all the songs you’ve listed. The most recent songs will be displayed here, but if you find a lot of music, you’ll want to save them manually.
You can also highlight lyrics and comment on them to add your knowledge to the app. Once you’ve identified a song, you can scroll below to find the next song in the album it’s from, as well as similar types of music you might enjoy.