Tag Archives: SoundHound

There’s (Already) An App For That. Just Make Your’s Better!

I think I've got an idea...maybe not.

So the other day, I thought I had a killer idea for an app.

It was a variation of the peek-a-boo pens from back in the day.

You know, the ones where you flip the pen and the girl’s clothes disappear revealing her undergarments.

I shared the idea with a few people, who were also of the impression that I had a killer app idea on my hands.

I was brainstorming for a client that caters to ‘adult’ themed entertainment – not personal, mind you.

The idea was so good that I raced home to sketch a few ideas out on OmniGraffle.

But then it hit me…

This idea was too good.

Not that I’m a dunce or anything, but I couldn’t imagine that an idea this good hadn’t been done already.

So I Googled it.

And wouldn’t you know, my app idea had been done – by no less than four different developers.

They were all variations on a theme, and each executed with varying degrees of aplomb.

Mind you, I come up with apps all the times.

Clients are constantly asking me what they should do, and I’m a wellspring for app ideas.

The one thing that I tell all my clients, is to find an app out there, that they like and think works well, and improve upon it.

With over half a million apps in the iTunes App Store alone, it’s very likely that any idea you’e got (as I found out) has already been done.

And that’s not to say that original apps aren’t still being created.

It’s just that it’s unlikely that most of us will come up with something that is truly original.

And that’s okay.

The reality of it, is that you wouldn’t necessarily want to be the first app to do one thing or another.

Unless you knock it out of the park on your first try, you’re probably going to have an app that’s buggy, and delivers an ‘ok’ user experience at best.

Believe me.

I’ve created a number of novel web and mobile applications that, despite how hyped and excited as we were about it, our initial market trials were…not good.

But what we did learn from those experiences, was that being second (or even third) to market was useful, because it gave you invaluable insight into what your competitors were doing.

It also helped you figure out what the market would bear (i.e. should your app be premium or free).

The most important thing you can get from building an app based on a pre-existing app, is that there is room for more than one.

Photo sharing app.

Think Instagram and Path (and now Wyst).

Music identification apps.

Or Shazam and SoundHound.

Checkin apps - there sure are a bunch of 'em!

And how about Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, SCVNGR, and now Yelp for Mobile.

You get the picture.

This underscores my point that even if your app idea has already been done, you can still make a mark or carve out a niche by doing something – even just one thing – better than the rest.

So don’t be discouraged if you find that you idea for the next killer app has been co-opted by someone else.

Check them out. Bide your time. And once the feedback starts coming in about what they did wrong, drop yours!

What’s your killer app idea? Wait…don’t tell me…it’s been done already. Right?

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Filed under apps, branding, digital advocacy, mobile

I’ve been hard on Shazam. But SoundHound is better.

Shazam is good, but SoundHound is better!

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).

SoundHound's results include the streaming lyrics right on the page.

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!

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology

Nicki Minaj’s Grammy Performance. Can we say train wreck?

I was originally going to write about my recent experience over the weekend with SoundHound, Shazam and Quora, but in light of the veritable explosion last night over the Grammy awards, I had a change of heart.

If you didn’t see the Grammies last night, then you missed (yet another) lackluster awards show.

But if you were patient enough to sit through three hours of the music industry’s self-congratulatory adulation, and LL Cool J’s (awkward and painful) attempt at charm and wit as the night’s host, then you might have witnessed what was undoubtedly the most exceptional event of the evening: Nicki Minaj.

Nicki’s Minaj’s performance of Roman’s Revenge received the WTF!? Award for it’s sheer theatrical lunacy.

Titled “The Exorcism of Roman,” Minaj channeled her demonic alter-ego for a crazed, out-of-pitch, barely intelligible five-minute performance, which ended with her floating mid-air above the stage.

If you didn’t see it, please accept my apologies for posting it here:

The response on the Twitter-sphere was almost unamimous: Nicki Minaj was wilding (and her performance was garbage).

Here are a few choice Tweets.

I'm embarrassed. Nicki Minaj should be too.

Compared to Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga seems...normal?

Please, please, please...make it stop!

While I’m sure that Nicki Minaj fans will say that this was the greatest Grammy performance ever (they’re drinking the Kool Aid), the rest of us, who don’t have our heads up Nicki’s (allegedly) surgically augmented derrière, would likely beg to differ.

I can say this much, about her performance, Nicki Minaj pulled out all the stops.

To what end?

That remains to be seen.

But if Nicki’s intent was to get people talking…mission accomplished.

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Filed under opinion, rant, Smack talking, social media