It’s happened to everyone: you’re grocery shopping and suddenly you find yourself getting lost in the music playing through the speakers. You pull out your phone, but your app can’t determine what the song is. The music ends, and with it, peace of mind — as you wonder for the rest of your life what that song is.
When you hear a song you like, you need the best music recognition app possible to help you find what it is. These apps will tell you the name of the song within seconds of listening, help you find where to buy the song, and more.
SoundHound makes it easy for users to find exactly what button to press to identify the music: a nice big orange button right in the middle of the app. If you’re pressed for time (like if the song is nearing the end), you can just say, “OK, Hound” and you can tag the song in the app.
One feature that really sets SoundHound apart from the competition is its ability to identify music based on the humming or vocals of a song. If you can’t identify the song in time, try humming the tune to SoundHound. It gives you a second chance to identify the catchy rhythm you heard.
It includes the ability to tag a song so you can purchase it later, view lyrics, and more. If you’re interested, SoundHound also has its own voice assistant, but it doesn’t stack up with Google Assistant or Siri.
SoundHound is free and ad-supported, but if you want to get rid of the ads, you can buy the premium version (called SoundHound Infinite) for $7. However, there’s not much benefit to doing so other than removing ads.
Shazam is one of the most popular music recognition apps out there. It’s packed with features to help you identify the music you listen to, as well as discover music by new artists you may not have heard of.
Country & Cities charts make it easy to find music from around the world. You can even ask Shazam to play the music and just soak in the mix it has to offer. Shazam can also create a playlist for you based on a track you previously defined.
For music identification, Shazam has two modes. The first is what you’re probably most familiar with: just tap to identify the song. The other mode is much more interesting: Auto-Shazam. Instead of pressing a button, you press and hold to activate Auto-Shazam.
Auto-Shazam will automatically listen to and recognize music, even when the app is not open. While this isn’t the best option all of the time, it can be a great option if you find yourself in a place with unfamiliar music you love.
Shazam is free to use but is supported by ads. If you want ad-free use, you can do so for $3.
MusicID is a lesser known app that doesn’t pack as many bells and whistles as bigger names like Shazam, but it really excels at identifying music. MusicID is a great choice for users who prefer minimalism, as the app only provides basic information without much else on the screen.
Just tap to identify the song. When MusicID finds a tune for you, it offers the option to purchase it on iTunes (though now open to Apple Music).
MusicID also provides metadata about the songs. In the previously identified Michael Buble song, for example, it provides the genre, mood, and even the artist’s origin. It’s a great way to learn more about your favorite musicians.
Like MusicID, MusixMatch is a more dedicated app than Shazam. It only focuses on identifying songs and providing lyrics, but you can often find lyrics in multiple languages. As the song plays, the words are 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 song title but you remember a line in the song, you can search with just that information. More often than not, you should be able to find a match.
There’s also a bunch of premium options behind the MusixMatch Premium subscription. For $3 per month or about $36 per year, you unlock Team Mode, an ad-free app, the ability to clean up your music library with a single click, and more.
Genius is an app for song lovers. It has music recognition and will let you track lyrics, but it also has a ton of other features. You can watch videos and interviews with your favorite artists, find new music, and more.
One thing to note is that while Genius can identify music for you, it does not save all the songs you have listed. It will show the most recent songs, but if you identify a lot of tracks, you’ll want to save them manually.
You can also bookmark the lyrics and annotate them to contribute your knowledge to the app. Once you’ve identified a song, you can scroll below the lyrics to find the next song on the album it came from, as well as similar music you can enjoy.