Have you ever been out somewhere, heard a song come on, and just really wanted to know what it was called? Most of us have had moments like this, and it can be frustrating not having any way to figure out what you’re listening to, because by the time you can remember to look it up, you may forget the lyrics or the tune. Fortunately, there are apps that can help with this!
No matter what kind of device you have, there is a song recognition app you can use to find out what song you’re listening to. Some devices even have this feature built in to the device. We’re here to tell you about some of the best apps to use to find out what song is playing. If you aren’t sure how these awesome apps work, jump down here for a quick lesson.
9 best apps to identify songs
1. Voice assistants
Various types of devices you may have do have voice assistant programs built in. Some voice assistants have music recognition capabilities, so you don’t need to install a separate app to add this capability to your device. Devices like iPhone and iPad, Android smart phones, PC computers, and Amazon Alexa have this ability. We’ll tell you a bit about the voice assistants on each of these devices.
If you have an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad, your device will have the Siri voice
assistant built in. Siri can do many things for you, like setting alarms, making calls, and sending text messages. If a tune is playing, you can ask Siri something like “what song is this?” or “can you tell me what song is playing?”
Siri will listen to the music that’s playing through your device’s microphone, and should be able to identify it within a few seconds. Once the track has been identified, you will be shown the title and artist, and a link to easily purchase the song on iTunes, and download it to your device.
If you have an Android smart phone, you can use the Google voice assistant, OK Google. To access this voice assistant, simply say “OK Google” out loud. If music is playing around you, you should see a music icon appear on your screen. If you tap that icon, your device will begin listening and attempt to identify the song.
You can also simply ask, “OK Google what song is this?” When your device identifies the song that you’re listening to, you will see the track name, artist, and album information, as well as a link to buy it from the Google Play store.
Another awesome voice assistant program on Windows devices is called Cortana. If you have a PC computer or a Windows phone, Cortana is built into your device. To identify a song using Cortana, open the Cortana window, or say “Hey Cortana.” Then, ask “what song is playing?” or “what is this song?” and Cortana will start listening.
Once the song has been identified, you’ll be shown the album artwork along with the title and artist, and the name of the album it comes from. If you want to purchase the track, click on the result to see it in the Windows Store. You can also click Find Another Song if you want to identify more music.
The final voice assistant we’re going to tell you about comes built in on devices by Amazon. This voice assistant is called Alexa. Alexa can help you order things from Amazon, control your calendar, answer your questions and more. If you have an Alexa-enabled device, you can say “Alexa, what’s the name of this song?” or a similar question.
Alexa will tell you out loud what the song is called, who the artist is, and the name of the album.
One of the most popular song finding apps is Shazam. This app is used by millions of people to find songs they hear around them. With just the tap of a button, you can find out what song you’re listening to, and get links to purchase them.
You can also follow your favorite artists’ Shazam accounts and keep up with what they’re “Shazaming.” Shazam can also keep you updated about new music, videos, and albums from your favorite artists.
Next up we have SoundHound. SoundHound is a free app that allows users to find out what songs are playing around them. Within seconds, the app will be able to tell you what is playing, who the artist is, and provide you with links to purchase it.
SoundHound can even provide you with the lyrics of the song you’re listening to, making it easy to sing along! The results of any song you search will be saved within the app, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of the ones you’ve discovered.
Share the songs you discover through SoundHound on your Twitter or Facebook account, or connect with Spotify to import your SoundHound searches and listen to them again.
Hound is another app created by the makers of SoundHound. Hound is a voice assistant app similar to the built-in voice assistants we mentioned. Simply say “OK Hound” then ask whatever question you may have, like “what song am I listening to?” or “tell me the latest news headlines.”
While Hound can help you search for and discover music, it can also help you with other tasks, like calling your friends, planning a date night, checking the weather, and more.
If you like to sing along with music you hear, Musixmatch is the app for you. Musixmatch can identify a track quickly, and give you the lyrics to the song with just one tap. This app offers great integration with Spotify, so you can create a Spotify playlist of the songs you’ve found through Musixmatch.
If a song isn’t currently playing around you, you can still find a song by lyrics, its name, artist, etc. Musixmatch can recognize lyrics and tell you what track it comes from even if you can only remember one line.
You can also use Musixmatch to have song lyrics appear on your screen while you listen to music on Spotify or other music apps including Apple Music, Pandora, or SoundCloud. Share your favorite lyrics on your social media accounts directly from Musixmatch with cool backgrounds.
Another great app to find out what you’re listening to is SpotSearch. SpotSearch is a song recognition app that allows you to type in some lyrics, and instantly find out what track it is. You’ll be provided with links where you can listen to the song on Spotify or YouTube. This app works best when you integrate it with your Spotify app. If you haven’t used it before, check out our Spotify course to learn more.
Next, we have MusicID. This is another awesome, free app that can help you identify music you hear on the radio, at the grocery store, in a coffee shop, or wherever you happen to hear a tune you like. Within a few seconds, you can find out the name and artist, and view the artwork for the album the song is from.
MusicID also makes it easy for you to add little notes to yourself so you can remember where and when you heard the songs you’ve discovered with the app. If you find one you like, MusicID can recommend other similar songs, and tell you a bit of biographical information on the artist if you’re interested.
TrackID is a simple, easy-to-use music finding app created by tech giant Sony. The app is available in over 60 languages, and can quickly tell you what you’re hearing, find out more about the artist, and watch music videos. If you want to listen to the full tune, connect TrackID to your Spotify account. This makes it easy to add the songs you discover to a Spotify playlist to save them for later.
One great thing about TrackID is that you can even use it when you don’t have Internet access. If you’re trying to conserve your mobile data, you can put TrackID in offline mode. The app will still listen to the song and save a short recording of it, so that it can be identified once you’re back in a place with a Wi-Fi connection.
The last song identifier app we’re going to tell you about is called Genius. The name is quite fitting, because this app knows everything about millions of different songs. Easily find out what song you’re listening to with the tap of a button, and “get the facts behind the tracks.”
Genius can tell you the basic information about a track, like its title and artist, but it can also give you more information, including the full lyrics and what they mean. If you tap on a highlighted line of lyrics, you’ll find information about them from the Genius community, or verified information from producers or the artist themselves.
Check out the videos on Genius to see music videos and interviews with popular artists to learn more about them and what they’re all about.
How do music recognition apps work?
Music recognition apps work by using your device’s microphone to listen to music that’s playing around you. These apps have libraries with millions of tracks, and each one is catalogued and has a pattern that identifies it from the others. Within seconds, the song you’re hearing can be identified.
Different song recognition apps may have different systems for identifying songs, but they all essentially work in a similar way. Now that we’ve given you a brief explanation of how these apps work, let’s talk about the best song finder apps we recommend you try out.
These are all of our recommendations for voice assistants and apps to identify songs and find out more about them. If you’re looking for new ways to enjoy your favorite music, head to our Music & Audiobooks section for our free courses on music streaming services like Pandora and SoundCloud.