Identify mystery songs
Shazam is a specialized app for Android that allows you to find the name and artist of songs you hear around you, and then gives you more information about the music. It’s remarkably simple to use - all you have to do is push a button, and the app—and the complicated tech that underlies it—will do all the work for you. It couldn’t be easier.
Discover new songs, music, and artists while you’re on the move.
This specialized app does a single job very well
Shazam is a simple, easy-to-use app that allows you to identify music when you hear it playing around you. This music could be from anywhere - the radio, a passing car, in a restaurant, and so on. As long as the music is a recognized, published song (no humming or user versions, please!), there’s a good chance the app will have a go at telling you what it is, who sang it, and where you can find out more.
The Shazam interface is simple. The app has a large button in the middle of the screen. A short press will identify a song playing at that moment, and a long press will turn on AutoShazam, which monitors for songs in the background. Left swipe, and you’ll see the LIbrary screen containing the songs you’ve “Shazam-med” in the past, Right swipe, and you’ll see the Discover screen, which offers news from artists you like, new songs, and suggested playlists.
Shazam is fast to find songs, although all the test songs were relatively well-known. Most songs took between 3 - 6 bars to decipher. Once the tune has been identified, you’ll be able to share it or open in various services, such as Apple Music or Spotify. The options available to you when you Shazam a song depends a little on the artist - well-known artists have more options. You can also log in to Shazam, where you’ll have more options related to saving and tagging songs, but the app works fine without logging in too.
Shazam is insistent about running on your phone and you’ll have to take steps to prevent it from opening automatically on start-up, or sitting in your notification tray. Other options are simple, as befits such a simple app. You’ll be able to change what notifications you get when it’s working its magic, and what music apps you have connected. Shazam also offers codes which you can unlock with your camera, providing you with more information and features.
The app has a basic help section, but it’s so simple that most users won’t need it. User-generated content and help is a little thin on the ground, but it’s not surprising, as it’s just not the kind of app that needs it.
Where can you run this program?
Shazam runs on Android phones. You will require Android 4.4 and higher for optimal performance.
Is there a better alternative?
Shazam is a simple app with a simple range of services. Competitor SoundHound is similar, but has one defining advantage - it allows you to sing or hum songs and will have a good go at recognizing them. If you’re serious about your music, this will be of interest. Both apps are free. If you feel that a music identification app is a must in your life, then SoundHound has this slight advantage.
Shazam is a great app - it does its job well, is easy to use, and has features and design that go above and beyond the basic requirements for the job.
Using the app feels very simple, and that will be a big draw for many users—with the Auto Shazam feature, you don’t even have to do anything: the app performs its job completely by itself. It’s also free. Together, these features make Shazam a sure bet.
Should you download it?
Unfortunately (as it’s a great app), SoundHound is the better download. If you really feel you need a standalone music identification app (for the rest of us, Google Voice is fine), go for the one that can ID your versions of songs, humming, and vocalizing too.
- Beautifully minimal
- Works perfectly
- Discover feature good
- AutoShazam helpful
- Live lyrics
- Only recognizes professional versions of songs
- Insistent notifications
- Discover screen can get chaotic