Music & Audio
|App Name||Shazam: Music Discovery|
|Last Updated||Sep 22, 2023|
|Category||Music & Audio|
This in-depth review will cover Shazam’s key features and functionality on Android, including:
Whether you’re a lifelong Shazam user or considering trying the app for the first time, read on for a comprehensive look at how Shazam works on Android and how it stacks up against alternatives in 2023.
So how does Shazam actually recognize the songs around you? The technology behind the app’s music recognition capabilities is quite ingenious.
Here’s a quick overview of how Shazam identifies music:
Shazam’s acoustic fingerprinting technology was developed in the early 2000s and has been refined over the years to achieve faster and more accurate song recognition. The app’s database is also continually updated with new music to improve its identification capabilities.
Now let’s take a hands-on tour of using Shazam on Android and explore its user interface and overall experience. I tested the app on a Samsung Galaxy S22 running Android 13.
The main home screen you see when you open Shazam is focused on the core music recognition functionality. Front and center is the large, round Shazam button with a lightning bolt icon.
Tapping this button activates your device’s microphone and initiates the song recognition process. While listening, the button pulses and changes color, providing a nice visual indicator that the app is actively processing the audio sample.
Below the button is a carousel of your recent Shazams, providing quick access to songs you’ve recently identified. An explore tab at the bottom brings up curated music charts and recommendations.
The clean, uncluttered home screen design makes the song recognition feature extremely quick and easy to access. No extra steps needed – just tap the button and Shazam listens.
After tapping the Shazam button, you’ll see the interface change while the app analyzes the audio sample.
The button animates by expanding into a circle and displaying the text “Listening for music…” This provides clear feedback that song recognition is actively occurring.
If Shazam needs a longer or clearer sample, the text will update to say “Searching…” or “Expanding search…” The app might take 5-10 seconds to identify a song.
During this process, a waveform of the audio sample is visualized behind the button. This gives the user something interesting to look at while waiting for results.
When Shazam successfully identifies a song, the results are displayed on a clean, well-organized screen.
The song’s name, artist, and album are prominently shown at the top, so you can instantly see what has been recognized.
Below this, Shazam displays links and buttons to take various actions:
Additional info like song length, release date, and music genre are shown in an expandable section. Your past Shazams of the same song are also listed.
Overall, the results screen makes it very quick and easy to discover more about the identified song or take an action like listening on Spotify. The design is clean, modern, and focused on music discovery.
Beyond song recognition, Shazam also provides additional features on other pages of the app:
These features enhance the music discovery aspect and provide personalized recommendations based on your Shazam listening history.
The bottom navigation menu makes it easy to jump between the main pages of the app. The design stays clean and consistent throughout the experience.
Now that we’ve covered the core user experience, let’s dive deeper into Shazam’s features and functionality on Android.
Obviously song recognition is Shazam’s primary feature. Just tap the button and it will listen to music playing near you, whether from speakers, live performances, radio, TV, or any other source.
Recognition is very quick and accurate in normal conditions. The app can identify a wide variety of genres from pop and rock to hip hop, country, K-pop, Latin, and more.
However, performance can suffer in noisy environments or if the music is obscured by talking or other sounds. Getting closer to the audio source usually helps improve results.
One limitation is Shazam can only recognize recorded songs, not live singing or humming. This is an area where rivals like SoundHound have an edge.
A handy value-add Shazam provides with every tagged song is synchronized lyrics.
Tapping the lyrics button scrolls through the full song lyrics while highlighting each line in real-time as that part of the song plays.
This makes it easy to read and sing along with the lyrics for any song identified by Shazam. The lyric feature works with music from any source, not just the Shazam app itself.
Shazam offers a few different options for playback and listening to recognized songs in full:
For previewing and discovery, the 30 second clips are very handy. For full songs, linking out to the streaming platforms provides a seamless listening experience.
Shazam provides music charts showing the top songs identified by Shazam users in your city and country as well as globally.
This lets you discover popular and trending music in your area and see what’s rising on the charts.
Charts are provided across genres like pop, hip hop, dance, rock, Latin, and more. You can browse charts freely without an account.
Based on your Shazam listening history, the app provides personalized playlists and song recommendations tailored to your music taste.
This helps surface new artists and songs to listen to based on what you’ve previously Shazamed. Playlists are organized by moods like chill, dance party, throwbacks, and more.
However, these recommendations do require signing up for a Shazam account to sync your listening data across devices.
A handy feature called Pop-Up Shazam allows you to identify songs playing in other apps on your device.
When enabled in settings, you can access Shazam from any app by simply tapping the small floating Shazam icon. This makes recognizing music in videos, streaming apps, or games quick and convenient.
The Auto Shazam setting passively listens for music and automatically identifies songs without needing to press the button.
This means you can discover music playing around you without actively using the app. The downside is it consumes more battery life when enabled.
Shazam can identify music even without an internet connection. The app will store fingerprints of songs it hears and match them once it’s back online.
This allows you to Shazam music anywhere, even in areas with no cell service or WiFi. The offline mode works very reliably.
Shazam offers an ad-free paid version called Shazam Encore for $4.99. This removes ads from the free app while retaining all functionality.
The free version is fully functional but does contain audio and banner ads. Paying for Encore provides a distraction-free experience.
Let’s now compare Shazam to one of its top competitors, SoundHound. I tested both apps to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
In terms of recognition accuracy under normal conditions, Shazam and SoundHound are neck and neck. Both apps identified about 90% of songs during my testing.
However, SoundHound was better at recognizing obscure indie music while Shazam had the edge for pop and hip hop. Overall accuracy is very similar.
Shazam consistently identified songs 2-3 seconds faster than SoundHound in my testing. Its recognition speed is blazing fast.
However, SoundHound was a bit more effective when the audio was distorted or overlaid with talking. It seemed more resilient to challenging conditions.
But for clean audio, Shazam’s speed is unmatched. It’s almost instantaneous.
Both apps provide lyrics, song previews, YouTube videos, and links to streaming platforms.
However, SoundHound has a few unique features Shazam lacks, like identifying songs when you sing/hum them and a hands-free music search assistant.
Shazam has the edge in terms of its music charts, playlists, and overall polish. But SoundHound has some differentiated capabilities.
I found Shazam’s UX faster and simpler overall. The big button makes song recognition incredibly quick.
SoundHound’s interface feels a bit more cluttered. However, SoundHound provides better tutorials and explanations about how its features work.
Both Shazam and SoundHound have free ad-supported versions. Shazam’s ad-free upgrade costs $4.99 while SoundHound’s is $6.99 annually.
The two apps are very close in terms of cost. Shazam has the edge for only needing a one-time upgrade fee.
Overall, Shazam edges out SoundHound when it comes to recognition speed, simplicity, and polish. But SoundHound has some unique capabilities like humming recognition that Shazam lacks.
Both apps are great choices that complement each other. Casual users may prefer Shazam’s speed and simplicity, while music enthusiasts may appreciate SoundHound’s advanced features.
Here are some tips to get the most out of Shazam based on my experience using it on Android: