- What is Shazam
- What are the main features of Shazam?
- What are the new features of Shazam?
- How does Shazam work?
- How to get Shazam?
- What are the best alternatives to Shazam?
Shazam is an application that allows you to find the title of a song, the name of an artist or an album from an extract of music that you hear on the radio, on television or in a store. Fast and easy to use, this application can be downloaded for free on your mobile device or computer.
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What is Shazam
Shazam is a music recognition application launched in 2002 by the London firm Shazam Entertainment Limited. It was, in its first version, a music identification service by SMS. Acquired by Apple in 2017, then formalized in 2018, Shazam has become one of the rare applications that allow you to find, in a few seconds, a piece of music from an extract from it.
The success of Shazam with Internet users was not long in coming. In 2014, while the application was still paying, it recorded nearly 20 million requests per day and even crossed the bar of 100 million active users per month. Since its takeover by Apple and its provision free of charge to the public, the application still appeals to music lovers.
Today, the service offered by Shazam is available in a mobile version for smartphone or tablet, and in a desktop version on Mac and Windows.
What are the main features of Shazam?
Shazam is a friendly and easy to use application. When you hear a song whose title you want to find, you just have to launch the application and activate the central recording button. You can then move your device closer to the source to better intercept the sound.
After a few seconds of processing, the service matches the recording with its music database and then displays the results in the application's main window. The information that will be accessible to you is the title of the song, the main artist, those who have collaborated as well as all the covers of the song.
That said, Shazam goes well beyond that, the application is also able to find the video clip as well as the lyrics of a song. It also allows you to follow the news of an artist such as his next album releases, his future tour dates or even the videos of his concerts.
Through the "Discover" feature, the platform's algorithm can identify your music styles and the program can even recommend new tracks or artists for you to follow. Besides, the app can offer you a daily playlist from the artists you have followed. You can then download the songs you like by buying them on online platforms such as Deezer, Google Play Music or Spotify.
With a Shazam account, you will have access to your music history and the app's TOP menu will present you with the list of the most popular tracks in the world. You can then share your favorite songs with your friends, on social networks or use the application's search engine to find the titles, artists and song lyrics that interest you.
What are the new features of Shazam?
The features brought by the new version of Shazam are numerous. First of all, it is now possible for you to use the application in offline mode. The app's fingerprint system allows you to resume searching once internet access is restored.
Shazam can now recognize a song even when wearing headphones. It is therefore no longer necessary to bring the microphone of the device closer to the source of the song. Even better, the service currently allows identification of a song from another app on your device.
By using Auto Shazam mode, you can now activate the application in the background and therefore continue to discover songs even when you leave the application. The app will alert you as soon as the information on said song is found.
The service offered by Shazam allows you to enable visual recognition through your device's camera. This will allow you to scan magazines or displays with the Shazam logo. New experiences in augmented reality will also be at your fingertips. For those who no longer wish to be bothered by in-app advertising offers, the premium version called Shazam Encore is available for free on the App Store.
How does Shazam work?
The principle of Shazam is simple and complex at the same time. The application associates a unique code with each song and when you launch an identification, the recorded sample is broken down and then transformed into a code. The service then performs a comparison of the sample code with the codes stored in its database to identify similarities.
When breaking down, the platform is only interested in the most intense passages of a song. At each of these peaks, the application remembers the frequency (loudness of the sound) and the timecode (time elapsed since the beginning of the song) to create a sort of marker. All of the markers form the digital fingerprint of the sample you have recorded.
Shazam then searches its database for songs with the same tags as the recorded sample. In general, since every track in the database is an original work, a fingerprint taken from a sample only ends up in three tracks at most. The app then considers that it has found the right song when two fingerprints match.
However, to take into account the various defects such as background noise, the comparison is not made at the level of the imprint, but rather at the level of the markers. The more identical markers there are between a sample and a song in the database, the more the application will consider that it has found the original song.
Although the system is ingenious, its characteristics however prevent Shazam from identifying and finding the pieces played "live" or that one would have whistled or hummed. Only the songs recorded in the studio are comparable.
How to get Shazam?
To get the Shazam app on mobile, you can either go to the app store or go to the play store. The latest version of the application is available for free on these two platforms. However, to fully benefit from the experience, your device (smartphone, tablet) must be running at least on iOS 12.0 or Android 6.0.
You can also get Shazam if you have an Apple Watch smartwatch or Android Wear OS. All you need to do is go to the official Apple website and make sure that the minimum OS requirements are watchOS 5.0 for Watch and Android 6.0 for Wear.
By going to App Store, you can get Shazam for computers running macOS 10.12. The PC version of Shazam could be downloaded from Windows Store for devices running Windows 8 or higher. However, it seems that the application is no longer available on Windows.
What are the best alternatives to Shazam?
There are several alternatives to Shazam available on the internet.
Top of the list is held by SoundHound, Shazam's direct competitor. Just like the latter, it allows you to recognize and access information about the songs you hear. SoundHound also allows voice commands to launch the application by asking "Ok Hound, what is this song?" ". In addition, you can vocally request information about an artist you are interested in. Just like Shazam, SoundHound is available for free in the Play Store and in the App Store.
In second position is the American Genius. This application is able to identify a song from an extract, but it can also display the lyrics and the official clip of the song. The social media sharing feature is also available in Genius and the app is free to download on Android and iOS.
The third step of the podium is attributed to Musixmatch, the Italian platform for searching and sharing lyrics. Although primarily a music player, this app is capable of music recognition just like Shazam. Using the app is a snap, just click on the “Identify Lyrics” button and the tool finds the song for you. Just like its competitors, Musixmatch is available for free download on the App Store and Play Store.
We will end this list with the MusicID application. She's Shazam's most serious competitor and she has a big future ahead of her. MusicID's identification functionality is one of the fastest around, and the level of detail provided in the identification results is excellent. The application is even able to find YouTube videos of similar songs and its interface offers an ideal compromise of the most practical features for the user. MusicID, just like Shazam, is completely free and available for devices running Android or iOS.