How to Make a Music Identification App Like Shazam?

If you are not prepared to go to superhuman levels that are beyond rationality to realize your dream, then your chance of finding success is virtually zero.”
Chris Barton, co-founder of Shazam

Do you remember the times when you were humming the half-remembered song and asking every friend of yours to recognize it? Or the times when you passionately googled the lyrics hoping to find that earworm? Or maybe you still google them? If so, you should know about Shazam.

When I was a child, I dreamt of having the magic power to identify every song I heard. Chris Barton and his co-founders made my dream come true. And I guess not only mine but of thousands of other people all around the world.

The idea to develop a music identification app wasn’t brand new. Before Shazam, several companies tried to cope with such a task. But their approach was not as efficient as Shazam’s because they limited song identification to several radio stations. So users had to enter the exact time they heard the song and the name of the radio station to find out what song was playing.

Shazam was launched in 2002 as 2580 service. Why 2580? That was the phone number people dialed to get the music recognized. After a call, which lasted only 30 seconds, the user received SMS with a song title and artist name. With the launch of Apple App Store and Google Play, 2580 introduced Shazam app which quickly knocked a lot of users in the aisles.

Let us try to unveil the music identification app development by analyzing Shazam and its main competitors.

Magic behind Shazam

Lots of people were wondering how Shazam works its magic. Especially when taking to attention the way it conquers noise and easily recognizes songs even in the crowded places. After Avery Li-Chung Wang, one of Shazam co-founders, published his academic paper explaining how music identification works, Shazam’s super power was revealed. Its secret lies in ignoring almost everything in a song and concentrating on three dimensions of music: amplitude, frequency and time. As a result, each song has a spectrogram divided into a number of small pieces, called fingerprints. There are more than 11 million songs, and the database expands with new songs every day.

The process of song recognition goes the following way:

  • Step 1: User records a song.
  • Step 2: Shazam creates a spectrogram out of it.
  • Step 3: Shazam searches for matches in the database.
  • Step 4: Voila! Now you can enjoy the song! Provided it is in the database :)

Shazam has been the only game in town for almost a decade, but things changed in 2011 with the announcement of EchoPrint API by Echo Nest. It was a turning point that led to a new generation of music identification apps and music recognition technologies.
For example, in the meantime, a US company GraceNote publicly shared its API together with the introduction of its own music recognition app called MusicID (which was originally developed as a CD track identification system).

So, how to make a music identification app like Shazam? Let us try to answer this question by analyzing apps for identifying songs and their main features.

Main features

Of course, music identification comes first. For this purpose, you can use solutions developed by either EchoNest (EchoPrint API) or GraceNote. Another way is to develop your own recognition algorithm (luckily there are a lot of tutorials for that). But songs recognition is not the only feature which should be in your app. Usually, people spend 30–40 seconds on identifying muHow to Make a Music Identification App Like Shazam?sic so there should be something to entertain them or make them open your app not only for finding the name of the song they are listening to.

Search Visualization

In such kind of applications, design plays a very important role, as it is one of the inciting factors which attract users to use your app. Shazam, SoundHound, and TrackID have their own so-called animated voice recognition circles so to catch up with them you should invent your own recognition element.

Social Aspect

Making an app social is always the right choice. It can be achieved by the news feed showing the most popular songs (by genre, country), top trending songs, most searchable songs, recent news in the music industry or everything which comes to your mind (and which is feasible, of course).

For example, Shazam has a feed consisting of the songs Shazamed by top celebrities.

Personal accouHow to Make a Music Identification App Like Shazam?nt

It is not a must-have feature, but it will be useful not to lose any music you looked up. Every search you performed will be saved to your account and can be accessed from any device everywhere.

Additionally, it is no surprise that almost every app has a sharing feature. Such a small social element can play a good deal and promote your app or bring new users.

How to Make a Music Identification App Like Shazam?Map showing recent searches

Shazam and Soundhound have this feature but it’s best implementation definitely belongs to TrackID. Powered by Spotify, it guides users through interactive map not only showing but also giving the ability to listen to what people are searching for and listening to at the moment.

Detailed song description

First versions of Shazam had only information about the artist, title, and album of the song. Since that times music industry has evolved and such apps like Shazam and SoundHound also improved and extended their features. So now, for example in Shazam, users can:

How to Make a Music Identification App Like Shazam?View standard information about the song (artist, title, album, label and release date);

  • See how many people Shazamed the song;
  • Watch related videos;
  • Read song lyrics
  • Check the top tracks from the artist;
  • Follow the artist.

Redirection/reference to third party services

Redirecting users to Google Play or App Store to buy the song or a YouTube reference to check the latest music video of the musician can also make users stay in your app for more than just 30 seconds:)

Offline Mode

Shazam, SoundHound and TrackID not only work online but also support offline search. So, if you have no internet connection, the search is saved on your device and is made as soon as the connection is renewed.

How to stand out from the crowd

Having read this, you may wonder how to differentiate your app from others. In order not to develop a Shazam clone or just another unnoticeable music identification app, think of implementing some unique killer features into your app, something that will make users choose your app over the competitors.How to Make a Music Identification App Like Shazam?

Let us discover what killer features these top 3 music recognition apps have.


Being a pioneer in this sphere, it still remains one of the world’s most popular apps. No wonder that it is used by more than 100 million people each month to identify music, get song lyrics, and recently, also to discover the music that artists discover themselves.
According to TechRadar | The Source for Tech Buying Advice | TechRadar “Shazam is an app that feels like magic”.

To remain the number one, it must invent and implement some new one-of-a-kind features. The freHow to Make a Music Identification App Like Shazam?shest are:

  • Shazam TV shows to discover soundtracks, the cast, special offers and more;
  • Auto Shazam (keep finding tunes in the background);
  • See it, Shazam it or Shazam visual recognition — tapping the camera icon on iPhone or Android to Shazam posters, magazines or books (it works as a QR code reader also);
  • Buy tickets to see your favorite artists live at their shows.

Get more information in our blog article.