What Song Is This? 10 Best Apps to Identify Tunes in Your Head

Mobile Apps

Imagine this: you’re on your usual commute when all of a sudden you hear this new song on the taxi radio and you really like it. It’s a good-vibe song that you can easily sing along to. The only problem is, you do not know what’s it called. What song is this? You keep asking yourself and there is no way for you to look it up on Spotify or Apple Music. Luckily, technologies aren’t what they used to be. Developers are always inventing apps and ways to make our lives really efficient. And that includes finding out the title of the song you like!

In this article, we will be going over some apps that will identify what song is playing while you’re on your commute; that song that’s stuck in your head in a loop resulting in a condition called last song syndrome or LSS.


Inside This Article

  1. Music Identifier: How It Works
  2. 10 Best Song Identifier Apps to Try
    1. Google’s Hum to Search
    2. Shazam
    3. SoundHound
    4. MusixMatch
    5. MusicID
    6. Genius
    7. BeatFind Music Recognition
    8. Uta
    9. Music Finder
    10. Music Detector
  3. Can Voice Assistants Identify Songs?
  4. Takeaways


Music Identifier: How It Works

The human brain is so powerful that it recognizes events, names, places, and songs with few signals. It’s amazing to think how the brain does this—how it can recognize everything despite the complex pathways through which signals are sent to the brain to make recognition possible. For humans, it only takes a few chords, or the first few seconds of a tune, or a word before one can recognize a name. So imagine training a computer to do the same. It’s a big job for any developer.

But artificial intelligence is getting more and more human-like these days. Today, it is easy to train an AI to identify a song with just a few chords, tunes, or lyrics before it can give you a title or the artist. This is how music identifier apps work; they are AIs trained to recognize tunes they hear and which artist played them. Some are powerful in that they can recognize a song within the first five seconds and even in noisy environments while others are still playing catch up.

Nonetheless, these are helpful if you just can’t get a song out of your head and you need to hear it every day to get over it.


10 Best Song Identifier Apps to Try

Whether you heard it in a club or café or in your friend’s car, you can’t help but hum to the tune or drum to its beat. The only problem is you really do not know what song is playing. And you want to know what it is. Below are the best music identifier apps to try to solve this little problem.


1. Google’s Hum to Search

Turn on Google Assistant
Photo from Tom’s Guide

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you are an Android user, or even an iOS user, you need not look further just to identify the catchy tune living in your head. Google just added a hum-to-search feature on its virtual assistant, which can identify the title of the song that you sing onto it. All you have to do is summon Google, ask “what song is this?”, and hum a part of the song in 10 to 15 seconds. You don’t even have to know the lyrics, just the tune alone. Just by doing that, Google will throw you the possible title of that song. A word of advice, though: try not going out of tune, or else Google will mistake your newfound music with a different one.

Download Google Assistant for Android

Download Google Assistant for iOS


2. Shazam

Shazam app on Apple Watch
Photo by Julian on Youtube

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In the game What Song Is This?, Shazam is the best player among the pile of apps to try. It is so powerful it can identify almost any music within its database that houses millions of songs. Shazam is capable of identifying a song even in a noisy environment. The technology used to develop Shazam is called pattern recognition in which the AI runs through its library and looks for patterns in terms of tune and rhythm to identify what song is playing. The fastest recognition Shazam has recorded is 2.3 seconds and the song was Wannabe by Spice GirlsShazam is so powerful that in America, a game show called Beat Shazam was created to see whether humans can compete against an AI for fun. Pretty cool, huh?

If you are using an iPhone which is updated to the current iOS, you’ll find Shazam already installed and can be used as one of the Control Center apps. Of course, the app is downloadable still from the Apple App Store.

Download Shazam for Android

Download Shazam for iOS


3. SoundHound

Banner photo of SoundHound on Play Store
Photo by SoundHound Inc. on Google Play Store

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

SoundHound is a big competitor of Shazam. In comparison to Shazam, SoundHound comes off as another powerful song identifier app because aside from giving the song title, artist, album, and other track-relevant details, it goes beyond by suggesting songs from the same artist and genre. Although Shazam would do the same, SoundHound offers other features that Shazam does not. This includes live lyrics and even details when an artist is having a tour should you wish to see them perform live. These added features in SoundHound are quite helpful by letting you discover songs playing nearby and the artists behind them.

Furthermore, you can listen to the songs SoundHound identified for free on Spotify and YouTube.

Download SoundHound for Android

Download SoundHound for iOS


4. MusixMatch

What Song is This? Musixmatch app
Photo by musiXmatch srl on Apple App Store

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Musixmatch is a lyrics database that connects to major music streaming platforms Spotify and Apple Music and only those platforms. The lyrics that usually displays on these platforms are provided by Musixmatch. Essentially, the app is pretty simple, and still, users praise the app due to its universal compatibility for both Android and iOS devices. Of course, it goes without saying that it is also praised for some of its extended features like identifying what song is playing. Another extended benefit of the app is that you can remove the artist’s vocals after the app finds what song is being played and load up the lyrics. Needless to say, the app is perfect for karaoke jams with friends.

The app is full of ads, though. But that is the extent of the negative review that we can give for this app because it essentially does its job well. So a little in-app purchase to get rid of the app is highly justifiable.

Download Musixmatch for Android

Download Musixmatch for iOS


5. MusicID

MusicID: music identifier app
Photo from musicid.com

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

MusicID offers a competitive music-recognition technology and generates a song title within a few seconds. It is a good option in the “What Song is This” game and offers similar features as the next song and music detector app in the list. Apart from the common details like song title and artist, it also gives you additional information like things you need to know about the artist behind the song. Unlike Shazam or SoundHound, MusicID pushes the envelop further by claiming that it can identify the song within a five-second timeframe. A promise that the other apps we have on this list can’t seem to make.

The only negative review we can give is that the app is not ad-free. However, if you are a person who loves to explore genres and artists, this app might just be for you.

Download MusicID for Android

Download MusicID for iOS


6. Genius

What Song is This identifier app: Genius
Screenshot from NDHD on YouTube

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genius is Spotify’s main lyrics provider. However, Genius is more than just a lyrics database. With a tap of the soundwave icon on the screen, it can detect the music around you especially if you don’t know its title and the artist behind it. It’s pretty simple and easy to use. Furthermore, it pushes the envelope by instantly providing other details to the song it detected and lyrics. Its database is so robust it can detect songs played not only on mainstream streaming services or clubs or shops; it can also identify songs played on commercials, TV, and movies. With these perks, many users prefer this app to well-known apps.

Download Genius for Android

Download Genius for iOS


7. BeatFind Music Recognition

Banner photo of song identifier app, Beatfind
Photo by Beatfind Music Recognition

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Beatfind is popular among Android users. As with the other music recognition apps we have listed here, this is a powerful app that is capable of recognizing the unfamiliar song playing around you. Beatfind is fun because once the app finishes recognizing the song, it will display a screensaver-like flash of lights and motion graphic that is synced with the beat of the song. The app is plain and simple. It does nothing else but identifies the song; nothing much to dig around this app. However, the only downside we see for this app is that it is only available to Android devices. iOS device users can just go and choose other apps we have listed here.

Download Beatfind for Android


8. Uta

Banner photo of Uta music identifier app
Photo by Perple from Google Play Store

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Uta is a lesser-known yet good option for a music identifier app. It checks the box for what apps of this niche should be able to do. Given that, using the app shouldn’t be that hard considering it has a button for recognizing a song from its database that houses over 40 billion-plus songs. It also has added perks like download music for free and a log of previous song discoveries using the app.

The app received positive reviews from users in general. Users say the app is efficient, easy to use, and has great features that anyone can hope for in a streaming service. Unfortunately, the app is only available to Android devices so once again, Apple device users might want to consider other apps listed in this catalog.

Download Uta for Android


9. Music Finder

Banner photo of Music Finder app
Photo by StudioExtraApps from Google Play Store

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Another app that lets you discover a song anywhere is Music Finder. There’s really nothing that we can say about the name of the app and what the app does because it’s written on the wall like that.

Music Finder lets you discover not just the music you point your phone to for the app to identify but also suggests other songs with the same genre, the album where the track belongs, and artists. In simple terms, it’s one of the apps to choose if you want to expand your music palette and discover new music. It’s a tad slower compared to the top-tier apps we have in this catalog. Nonetheless, it makes for a good alternative for the “what song is this” apps. And once again, the app is only offered to those with an Android device.

Download Music Finder for Android


10. Music Detector

Banner photo of Music Detector app
Photo by Free VPN & Secure from Google Play Store

User rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Music Finder is not as good or worst as the next alternative for a music identifier app in any list. It is not one of the top-tier apps, obviously. But what users can say about this app is that it is easy and a true app that delivers what one can expect from an app of this niche. It’s not the best but there is definitely room for improvement. Some users reported a bug that limits the app — it can identify songs but not as robust as the previous ones we listed here. Nonetheless, the fact that it can still identify songs warrants a degree of respect and recognition for this app.

Download Music Detector for Android


Can Voice Assistants Identify Songs and Tunes?

Siri and Bixby are the AI voice assistants for Apple and Android respectively. Over the past five years, much has been done to both of these AIs. Today, Apple and Android engineers have beefed up these two technologies to not only sound like robots but actually come out of that label and make you feel that like are really there.

Siri might be listening to help you unlock your iPhone if you are using iOS 12 or older version
Photo from Apple Support

So the answer to the question of whether Siri and Bixby can identify what song is playing in your mind is a big fat yes! These AIs are now more than capable of identifying any song or music in real time it will amaze you like a five-year-old being given a new toy. And they work in the same way as the apps we have listed above. For Siri, you just have to say, “Hey Siri, what song is this?” Siri then will respond with “just a sec” while it scours the internet for the answer. The same is true for Bixby; just say “Bixby, what song is this?”



With these apps, you will never be left out in the latest flares in the music industry. The idea of music identifier apps is genius; who would have thought they would be invented and would be one of the solutions to our music fix. With the ways they perform today, one would think that developers have reached the endgame for such a technology. But these technologies would get better and better as the years progress. Who knows, maybe they would do more than identify songs?

Share this article with your friends and let them see which app works best for them!