Photo courtesy of SoundHound

IPhone App Figures Out What Song Is Stuck in Your Head

Technology + Gear
by Michelle Schusterman Jan 21, 2012
It’s the most entertaining free music app on my phone.

I HONESTLY CAN’T SAY whether SoundHound is more of a useful app, or best for laughs. I think it’s a tie.

“You know that one song?”

“Which one?”

“You know, the one that goes…do do dah, do do dah….”

“Um…Single Ladies?”

“Never mind.”

At some point you’ve probably had a conversation like this. You spend the rest of the day humming that song, maybe even remembering a few words and Googling them to no avail. At night, it plays over and over in your mind, present but just out of range of total recognition, until you beg for the sweet release of death. And in the morning your eyes fly open and you yell “Modern Love,” mentally kick David Bowie in the nuts, and finally resume life as normal.

SoundHound helps you skip the insanity. There are a few different ways to figure out what song’s nagging you. If you’re sure of the artist or the title, you can search that way. If you’re positive you know one or two lines from the tune, select “lyric” and type them in.

And if you’ve got none of those things going, but you can hum a little bit, just hit “Tap Here” in the center of the screen and go for it. You get about 15 seconds, and the longer you sing, the better chance you have of finding the song.

This feature is surprisingly accurate, although if you’re completely tone deaf (no shame, plenty of people on the Billboard Top 100 are), it’s probably not going to work out. (When I sang “Billie Jean,” that was the second result. The first was still MJ, but “Rock With You.” Not sure what that says about my singing skills.) But if you can belt out that chorus using “la” or “do” or whatever, SoundHound will more likely than not figure out what you’re singing.

Once it’s identified the song, the app opens to a page with the artist, album cover, and song title, along with options to download it from iTunes, view the lyrics, or share via email, SMS, Twitter, or Facebook.

When it’s useful, it’s extremely useful. When it doesn’t work out, you get to make an ass of yourself singing tunelessly into your phone to the amusement of anyone around you. Either way, the entertainment value is high.

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