You know that feeling you get, when you want to track down some music you heard somewhere in the background? Well, if you have been using smartphones then you are already using apps like SoundHound and Yahoo! Music to achieve these goals, but there is just something about Shazam that makes it stand out from other apps that accomplish exactly that. Now, in this wonderful world of globalization in apps, Shazam comes to Mac OS X. Here is what we think about it.
This is certainly a new approach to a now traditional method of finding music. As most of our music needs stem from some song heard during a movie or a show we’re watching. We no longer have to whip our phones out to track the music down. Shazam will do it for us right from our desktop, without us having to move even a finger.
The best part is that it sits in the menubar, quietly minding its own business until a piece of music plays, which it promptly identifies and notifies you of through the usual Mac OS notification channels, or in its own tiny little work space, whichever you fancy.
To be fair, new and interesting does not equate to ground breaking. Perhaps we are so used to having these apps around that we no longer appreciate them, because the novelty wears off very quickly. Whenever you play music on or around your Mac, it scours the libraries and finds you an exact match of whatever it is that you are listening to. If you play some music on an external device, it takes a little longer but it still finds you the song. Though, when I played Billie Jean on my iPhone (in a completely quiet room), it told me I was listening to an ‘Mj Megamix’ as well as ‘Billie Jean’. Anything I played on my iTunes on Mac was picked up without issue. At one time, I even had two songs playing at the same time and it detected both of them for me separately.
The “always on” nature of the app tends to get a little old when it starts repeating entries. I was playing a track on Youtube and anytime I’d pause and resume, it detected the song again, complete with notifications and everything. Pressing mute will stop it from detecting every piece of music played on your Mac, but since the mute only works for the speakers and not for the mic, you will still have to see notifications for anything a nearby device plays. Also, I tried singing a song to it, either It was not registering the song without the complete music or that feature is simply not available, but it did not detect the song, the same song was successfully detected via SoundHound though, so we can’t chalk that up to just bad singing. Whatever entry you find, clicking on it will take you to the Shazam website where you can get links to the music you tracked.
Of course all of that is only a problem if you do not want to turn Shazam off, since it is just an app, you can run and close it at your will without interrupting your workflow. This is most definitely a useful idea, especially now that you don’t even need to take out your phone to find a song anymore.