I’ve never been a fan of Shazam, the music identification app, that ‘listens’ to a few seconds of a song, and then tells you the name of the artist, title and other info on the song.
As an early adopter of the app, I was greatly disappointed by the number of times that Shazam crashed, didn’t or couldn’t identify the song I was listening to.
It’s hit/miss ratio was like 1 in 4.
And to me, that sucked!
What made it worse was the fact that Shazam was everywhere!
Despite it’s poor performance, folks were acting like it was the best thing since sliced bread.
And then I found SoundHound.
SoundHound is another music identification app, that works just like Shazam.
Press the SoundHound button, it starts listening to a music stream, and then identifies the song you’re listening to.
The big difference was that SoundHound almost always identified the songs I was listening to.
When I found SoundHound, I ditched Shazam, and haven’t looked back since.
However, last weekend (or was it the weekend before last?) I watched several Super Bowl ads with the Shazam logo, and I blasted Shazam in one of my post-Super Bowl posts.
But since it had been some time since I actually used the app, I thought that I might have been a bit harsh, and that Shazam deserved a re-do.
So I re-installed the app on my iPhone and gave it a whirl (again).
I decided that I’d do a side-by-side comparison between SoundHound (my new favorite music id app) and Shazam.
To make things interesting, I selected radio stations at random (from whatever I have programmed on the boom box in the kitchen) and held up my iPhone using both Shazam and SoundHound.
In each instance, I wanted to see which app found the song first (assuming they both found the song), and what information they returned when they did.
I listened to The Motto, by Drake featuring Lil Wayne on Hot 97 FM, Il Andante con motto, by the Slovak Philharmonic on 88.3 FM WBGO, One of those Days, by Whitney Houston on 98.7 Kiss FM, How Will I Know, by Whitney Houston on 107.5 WBLS (Whitney stays on rotation these days), and Levels by Avicii on 103.5 KTU.
Afterwards, I listened to Little Child Runnin Wild, by Curtis Mayfield on the Superfly album, to test how long each app took to capture the info from the same starting point.
In my testing (and to my surprise) Shazam was able to locate and identify every song except one.
Shazam mis-identified The Motto as the remix version by Jeremih (featuring Drake) although it was the standard version.
In every single instance, SoundHound returned information faster than Shazam.
This was the case regardless of which app I tested first, the song or volume (I tested the apps at both high and low volumes).
Both apps returned the majority of album artwork, although Shazam failed to provide artwork for two titles.
While Shazam did okay in my non-scientific head to head song identification comparison, there were a few areas in which SoundHound was unmatched.
The first is that in addition to listening to an actual song, SoundHound can identify a song if you sing or hum a few bars of the song (this worked well when I sang ‘Who The Cap Fits’ by Bob Marley).
A second is the streaming lyrics that are displayed right in the interface, and following along with the song in real time.
There are other little things that I like about SoundHound over Shazam, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much Shazam worked on this trial (versus how it worked when I originally copped it).
I did a little survey on the internet to see how other folks feel about the whole Shazam vs. SoundHound debate.
While Shazam clearly has the better marketing behind it, the universal unofficial opinion among users is that SoundHound is the better of the two.
But don’t take my word for it.
Take them both for a spin and tell me what you think!