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App Review

June 21, 2011

Kick Some App!

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Written by: Tim Adkins

SoundHound vs. Shazam
SoundHound 4.5 out of 5 Water Towers
Shazam 3.5 out of 5 Water Towers

by Joshua Trent

Gone are the days when you have to wonder what the name of that song is that you hear while you’re at the coffee shop. Nowadays, we just pull out our phone and find out. The only problem we have now is figuring out which app we should use to find out what it is we’re listening to.
Shazam and SoundHound are the two most popular apps for this, but which is better?

Both apps do just about the exact same thing—when you hear music, load the app, “tag,” let the app listen to the song for a few seconds, and it will tell you what song/artist it is. At that point, there’s links to purchase the song on iTunes, see tour information for the artist, read the lyrics for the song you’re listening to, share the song via social networks, etc.

Both apps have a paid version and a free version (both paid versions are $4.99). But while the free Shazam app only allows users to tag five songs per month, the free SoundHound app allows users to tag an unlimited amount of songs. The only reason to get the paid version of SoundHound is to eliminate advertisements, which aren’t that cumbersome to begin with. SoundHound Infinity (as the paid version is called) also comes with a home screen widget, which allows users to identify songs quicker—although, for the casual user, $4.99 is a bit steep for this added feature.

Why This Kicks App
So which should you use? I would recommend using SoundHound over Shazam. Shazam is more popular and better advertised on TV and magazines than SoundHound, but, in my experience, it’s not as good as SoundHound. I’ve found that SoundHound tends to work better when there is more background noise. Often times, when you’re in a crowded bar or coffee shop and try to tag a song with Shazam, it comes up empty. With SoundHound, I’ve almost never had this happen. SoundHound is normally the faster of the two apps as well. SoundHound is a great app to have, and it’s one that you’ll use all of the time. It does cause you to spend more money on iTunes than you would otherwise, but discovering new music you love makes it worth it.

Ghostly Discovery
4 out of 5 Water Towers
by Tim Adkins

When you’re constantly on the move and changing from one atmosphere, mood and situation to another, it’s hard for your music collection to keep up—and it’s next to impossible to have a playlist for each of these moods and situations. I take that back, it was next to impossible. Say hello to Ghostly Discovery.

Here’s how it works. Start by selecting your mood. Your mood changes throughout the day and they’ve basically got them all covered. From sad to laid back onto energetic and aggressive, there’s a color and mood for you. Then you can pick the style of music you’d like to listen to—whether it be digital or organic or music that’s faster or slower. Click “Discover” and the app will generate a playlist to fit your mood. Within that new page, you can now learn more about that artist, purchase that song or star favorite tracks to share with friends. Not feeling it? Hit the next button and move onto a new track by a new artist and let the discovering begin.

Why This Kicks App
I’ve used this app in so many different scenarios. It’s been the background music for iSPY staff meetings and I’ve used it while on the treadmill at the gym, cleaning my apartment, getting ready to go out to ‘da club and even for random dance parties at the office. Just think of it as that goofy mood ring you used to wear—only this one pumps out jams. It’s kind of that.

About the Author

Tim Adkins
Tim Adkins
Tim is the publisher of iSPY and co-founder of Pakmode Media + Marketing. He's a social, vegetarian geek who recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl into his family. For any questions or suggestions in regards to design, ad sales, web, content or anything at all related to iSPY, Tim's your guy.

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