5 Ways to Identify Unknown Songs or Music Using Sound Recognition

There’s probably over a hundred million songs in the world and the number is certainly increasing each day. With that number of songs, the chances of you listening to a song that you really like and not knowing the title or the author is pretty high. The old school trick in identifying an unknown song is try to catch one or two sentences of the lyrics and look for it in a search engine such as Google. This method should work most of the time but definitely not for some instrumental genres such as classical, dance, electronic, jazz…

There are apps for smartphone such as SoundHound, TrackID, MusicID and Bing Audio (selected countries only) that make it so much easier to recognize unknown songs by running the app and touching a button to start recording a short clip to perform the music recognition. As for desktop computers, music recognition is also possible through these free software or online services.

1. midomi

If you’ve heard of the popular SoundHound app for smartphones, it actually started off from midomi, a free web based music recognition service. This is why you can find SoundHound being advertised in most parts of midomi’s website and even using their favicon!


Midomi uses flash player to activate the microphone on your computer so that it can capture the music for recognition. All you need to do is click on the button that says “Click and Sing or Hum” followed by clicking the allow button when you are prompted to give camera and microphone access to midomi. You can either sing, hum or even play the music if you’ve managed to record it and midomi will attempt to recognize the song. Fast, no frills and easy to use since there is no need to install any third party application for midomi to work other than Flash Player.

Visit midomi

2. Shazam

Shazam is a very popular music identification app for Android with nearly 2 millions reviews averaging 4.4 out of 5 stars! Fortunately you can also find a desktop version but only available to download for Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store.


It is a no brainer to use Shazam. Run the program, click on the big Shazam icon and it will start spinning to start recognizing the music coming from your microphone. Upon finding a match, Shazam will show the album cover together with links to buy the music.

Download Shazam

3. musiXmatch

The music recognition feature called “Music ID” found in musiXmatch is powered by Gracenote and if you didn’t know, Gracenote has the largest database of music and video metadata. This would mean that musiXmatch has the ability to recognize a lot of songs. The desktop version of musiXmatch is also quite similar to Shazam in the sense that it is only available for Windows 8.1 via the Windows Store.


musiXmatch primarily aims to find and match lyrics to your music tracks found on your computer. You can find the Music ID function by right clicking anywhere on the app, and select Music ID from the top menu. Then click on the microphone icon that says “TAP TO START” to start recording the music for recognition.

Download musiXmatch

4. AudioTag

Although AudioTag’s database only has nearly 2 million tracks which is nowhere comparable with Gracenote’s database that is used by musiXmatch, AudioTag has successfully helped to recognize 1.5 million queries so far. It also offers a slightly different method in recognizing music which is either through uploading a full or short fragment of audio or specifying the URL to the audio file in WAV, MP3, OGG, FLAC, FLV, AMR, MP4 and many more.


AudioTag offers a great alternative to music recognition for people who do not have the permission to install third party apps like Shazam and musiXmatch, and also if they do not have a microphone.

Visit AudioTag

5. WatZatSong

If none of the apps or online services above managed to help you recognize an unknown song probably due to the low quality of the recorded music, your last option would be to record or upload the sample music and let the community of WatZatSong help you identify it.


Before you can post a sample, you must first sign up for a free account that does not require verification through email. After signing up and logging in, click on the POST A SAMPLE button located at the top of the website and you’ll given a choice of whether to record the sample using your microphone, or upload the music file. Select the genre that you think the music belongs to and also the language. Enter any comments you have about the music and click the Confirm button.

Visit WatZatSong

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