Have you ever listened to the radio and heard a catchy tune but they either don’t tell you who sings it or you forget when they do? Well that’s what Shazam is for. Shazam is an app that listens to the song you’re listening to and in under a minute tells you the song title, the artist and links to various websites for more information.
What you do is simply start the app, touch the screen (or click if you don’t have a touchscreen) and Shazam starts listening to the song. After a few seconds it sends the data to Shazam’s servers to analyze and reply with a result. Once the result or tag as they call it comes back (generally under a minute but depends on your mobile network) you are also given several options to choose from apart from the song and artist. These options include a link to the music video on Youtube, biography and discography of the artist and other song recommendations. It also allows you to share the tag via Facebook, Twitter, SMS and Email as well as remove the tag from your results history. Sharing via Facebook and Twitter requires a login to the respective sites to share your tags.
The testing methodology for this app is rather simple, I listened to a few songs and used Shazam to get the song title, artist and other information. I tried stations like Dubai 92 and Virgin Radio and Shazam managed a full 100% song recognition so the app works really well on mainstream English songs. I also tried some non-English stations and used Shazam on a couple of Arabic songs but sadly Shazam couldn’t recognize any of them even after several tries. I then tried some Arabic songs at home in case it was the radio’s reception that affected Shazam’s powers of recognition but alas it seems Shazam is incapable of finding Arabic language songs.
Next I tried a few songs from my iPod and computer, songs that you wouldn’t normally hear on the radio such as heavy metal and Shazam succeeded in finding 80% of the songs but failed to tag some. For example one such song was a cover song of Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out” by Bullet For My Valentine and Shazam couldn’t even tag it as the original. It did recognize the original song when I played it though. Another song was from the Highlander 2 soundtrack entitled “One Dream”, Shazam couldn’t find that one either. However, it found several songs from various bands old and new, it seems it can’t find some of the rare ones though. I also had an issue sharing tags on Facebook, every time I chose the option to share it would ask me to login to Facebook and then it would just show my front page. I could sign into Twitter but my tweet about what I found using Shazam doesn’t show up.
Overall, Shazam is a great app for finding that mainstream song on the radio or in the mall or anywhere there’s a catchy tune you have to find out about but it cannot find rare songs or Arabic ones. I hope their database grows and improves as it will be an excellent app for finding that one rare song you only hear once in a blue moon but for now we will have to use Google for that. I also hope they fix the issues with sharing on social networks that I experienced.
You can get Shazam’s paid version for free as a Thank You gift from RIM until December 31st so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t download this useful app, you never know when it might come in handy.