Sep 13, 2010

Is there really any wonder left in the world? With music recognizing apps like SoundHound, the answer is a definitive no. You see all you have to do is fire this baby up, point it at some music and it tells you the song. Now don’t get me wrong, instant gratification is what smart phones are all about. However, I don’t see much more than the “wow” effect in this app—especially for the $4.99 price tag.

SoundHound works. It scored 100% on recognizing songs on several radio stations (save for the live bluegrass on NPR). It also recognized “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” after I sang them like a fool into my cell phone. After SoundHound recognizes a song, it gives you the lyrics and also lets you listen to a clip to verify. You can share them on a variety of sites, and can also buy the .mp3 from

SoundHound was less successful with my humming attempts of Mozart or Miles Davis, but that might be attributed to my amazing singing abilities. However, it was able to recognize a recording of “Giant Steps” by John Coltrane. From other user reports, this app is really accurate at even the most obscure songs.

Is it just my taste in music, or are others in agreement that there isn’t a whole lot of good music playing in public places? Most of the time, I’m trying to precisely NOT know what is playing on the radio when I’m at the drug store or waiting at my doctor’s office. Maybe I could use it at a bar or restaurant. But then again maybe I’d be losing a chance to have a nice conversation by not just asking someone about it.

I’m sorry for my sarcasm here, it is a very cool party trick. And I’d love to hear others who have had cool experiences with this app. However, I think I’ll save my $4.99 on some more widgets though. Now, does that make me boring or just a nerd?

SoundHound Rundown

Presentation - It works, it really works.
Graphics - Kind of on the cheesy side. Not as slick as the website makes it look.
User Interface - You tap a big button to get your song--nothing revolutionary here.
Lasting Appeal - $4.99 for a party trick? No thanks...
Overall - It's fun no doubt, but is it useful?

App available on the Google Play Store »

Demo version is also available on the Google Play Store »

Ben Freed
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