Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? Sometimes it can be impossible to focus on anything else until you have remembered the name or artist. Enter Soundhound! The unsung competitor to “Shazam” which was later integrated to Apple phones with Siri.
Soundhound is a music-identifying app that uses AI voice recognition software. Find songs by holding your phone up to the source of the music, humming the tune or even singing it aloud. If you know the words but you’re stumped by the beat or the title then just type in the lyrics.
Hands-free song sourcing and music library
The bloodhound for sound
If you are looking for a song but you have the beat but no words, or the lyrics with no rhythm, then you will love Soundhound. Just press the big orange button in the middle of the screen and sing the song or hum the tune. The software is impressive, most of the time the hits were accurate – and the results were nearly instantaneous.
Some genres the voice recognition software struggled with though. It guessed correctly for pop songs, jazz tunes and even classical compositions, but dropped the ball on drum and bass and rap. Although those can be hard to “hum”!
Alternatively, if you can hear a song and you want more details, just hold up your phone to the source of the sound. (You will need to open the app first, it does not run in the background like Shazam). Using the app in this way is really straightforward. As long as there is no conflicting background noise then you should get an instant hit. Once identified, Soundhound will immediately start playing the song – with live lyrics! This may be an annoying extra to some, but for many will this is a neat feature that enables a fun singalong session.
The app is integrated with Spotify, Apple music, YouTube, and Google Play music. Once you have located the song in your head (or pinned down the track playing overhead in the restaurant) then you can add it to a playlist with your preferred streaming service, press the heart button to make it one of your favorites or share it on social media.
Basically Soundhound doubles up as a song detective and mini music library on the go. It tracks your history so you can easily access recent hits and continues playing similar songs after the track has ended. You can also do “hands-free” searching by commanding “Hey Soundhound” and making your request.
Where can you run this program?
Soundhound is an app for Apple and android smartphones. If you use an iPhone, you will need iOS 12.0 or later. You can also use Soundhound on your iPad and iPod touch. The app is compatible with the Apple watch, though you will require watchOS 5.0 or up.
For android users the size will vary with device (132 MB in our case) and it works across a variety of devices. The latest version 126.96.36.199 was updated as recently as this November 2019. It will access your location unless you disable this in your settings. It will of course require access to the microphone though so keep that one on!
Is there a better alternative?
In a nutshell, no. The only real alternative to Soundhound is its rival Shazam. Shazam was once the go-to resource to the question “What’s that song?”. It is built into Siri so Apple users can just leave the question at that. Soundhound delivers faster results and their Houndify engine identifies a wider range of music and you have the option of humming or singing snippets of songs too.
The one plus Shazam has over Soundhound for iPhone users especially is that being integrated with Siri it is always running in the background and automatically identifies songs. With Soundhound you have to open the app or you can use the hands-free “Hey Soundhound” command losing precious seconds of song searching time.
Soundhound is not a one stop music shop. Sure, you can create a list of favorites within your app or “check out what’s hot” and browse the music recommendations. The ads can be annoying (though you can pay to avoid these)./p>
For getting that niggly jingle out of your head however, or quickly identifying the familiar song that has just come on the radio, Soundhound is unbeatable. Fans of electronic music may be disappointed that the AI struggles to pick out their favorite tracks. Luckily it is constantly being updated and always improving.
Should you download it?
If you fall into the large cross-section of people who love music but have an imperfect memory then I recommend Soundhound. It is a fairly lightweight app but makes a solid pocket DJ. Do download it and see for yourself!