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App vs. App: Shazam and Midomi

[This is an iPhone blog App vs. App review! Last week, we ran our Google Earth vs. Earthscape showdown, with Google Earth scoring the win. But which commenter won an iTunes gift certificate? Congratulations musicobsession! Want your chance to win the winning app this week? Comment below!]

Have you ever had a song running on infinite loop in your brain but can't quite place the name or artist? What about those times you are in a store or in your car and you hear a song that you really like, but you have no idea what the name of the song or artist is? Fortunately, there are two excellent FREE apps for your iPhone, Shazam and Midomi, that can help you name the song and artist, watch the music video, and even buy the song. How do they compare? Read on for App vs. App, music tagging edition!

How Do They Compare?

I'll say this up front - both Shazam and Midomi are both excellent products and have nice interfaces, so the edge in this contest will boil down to feature sets. Without further ado, let's dive in and compare these two contestants!

Shazam

The design and interface for Shazam is all about simplicity. When you open up the app, you are presented with My Tags, the main screen for Shazam which displays anything you tagged Today and anything you tagged that is Older. "Tagged" means you have identified unknown music with song title, artist, and other information associated with it.

From the My Tags screen, you can view older Tags or tap "Tag Now" in the upper right corner of the screen to tag some new music. Be sure to have your iPhone close to the music source when you tap Tag Now, because as soon as you hit the button, Shazam will start "listening" and do it's best to identify the music your are listening to.

If Shazam is successful in tagging the music, your iPhone will display the artist, song title, genre, record label, and album from whence the song came. Album art will also be displayed. If you scroll down, there are several tag options: purchase the music via a link to iTunes, watch the music video on YouTube (if available), take and attach a photo, attach an album photo, share the tag with a friend, or delete the tag. All of this is very straight-forward, but requires an audible sound source of the original music. Shazam is simple and effective in it's design and it's easy to use.

So, to use Shazam, just open the app, select "Tag Now", and let your iPhone listen to the music to identify the artist and track name. You can save your tag history and build your own list of music over time. You can buy the music you hear via a link from Shazam to iTunes. If your tagged music has a music video, Shazam will link you to the music video on YouTube. You can personalize your tagged music with your photos and send your tagged music to friends and family via email.

Shazam works well, is simple to use, and gets the job done. It does require a music source to tag your music.

Midomi

When opening Midomi, you will see a splash screen for a couple seconds, then the application will launch where you left off before. Midomi is similar to Shazam in that it helps you identify music and tag it, but if Shazam is the Toyota of identifying and tagging music, then Midomi may be the Lexus.

Midomi is loaded with more features. In addition to tagging music by "grabbing" the music (your iPhone listening to the music, then matching it with song title and artist), Midomi has additional options. You can sing the lyrics, hum the tune, speak the lyrics, artist or song title, or enter the information by typing it. This is all very handy if you have that song bouncing around in your head, don't have a music source nearby, but want to put a name and face to your torment - just hum the song and Midomi will search it's 17 million plus database.

Like Shazam, Midomi tags the song and gives you the options of watching the video on YouTube, buying the song from iTunes, bookmarking the song, and sharing with a friend via email.

There are a lot more screenshots for Midomi because there are many more ways to tag your music. If you have a music source, then great - select the "Grab" tab and let Midomi listen to your music. Or, use one of the other several tabs, like Type, Say, or Sing. Each is self-explanatory and adds additional dimensions to identifying and tagging your music on Midomi.

You can Type the artist, song title, or lyrics and let Midomi search it's database. You can Talk into your iPhone and let Midomi recognize your speech, or if you are brave and consider yourself a shower-singing aficionado, then give it your best shot and Sing or hum the song. This latter method may be the least accurate given that it's dependent on your talent level.

Another advantage of Midomi is the vast database of music samples. When you tag your music, you can play a sample of the music on Midomi, which may be helpful in verifying you have tagged the correct song. On a humorous note, when using the Sing method for tagging your music, the sample you play may be the singing voice of another Midomi user out there somewhere.

Conclusion

Both Shazam and Midomi offer features like tagging music with artist name and song title, linking to music videos on YouTube, and sharing your tagged music with a friend via email. However, this is where similarities end and Midomi takes it to the next level. With the additional methods of tagging (Say, Sing, and Type) and a database of music samples, Midomi is more feature-rich.

Midomi Rating

The iPhone blog 5 Star Review 

Shazam Rating

The iPhone blog 4 Star Review 

 

 

 

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There are 53 comments. Add yours.

Dalekkiller says:

I tried both of these apps and have ended up keeping Midomi because of the extra features such as searching by lyric/title and by humming a tune. I also liked the fact that users could add to the database so I can add my musical interests. One thing I've noticed about both the apps is that they're both more geared towards "popular" music and neither app did very well at identifying even the more popular tracks in my Classical collection.

firesign3000 says:

i had both, and i ended up keeping shazam. for me it was the winner because it seemed to know about more obscure artists/tunes than midomi. when shazam identified ishmael lo and midomi couldn't, that pretty much clinched it for me.

Captnoir says:

I tried both as well and went with Midomi. I like the variety of options of finding a tune, especially when it is drilling through my brain but never is played on the radio again or the dj never says who it is, just kills me some days.

snugs says:

I've tried both and ended up keeping shazaam. i went through 20 different songs in itunes; shazaam id'd 19 of them, midomi 7. also, when i tried singing/humming into midomi it always returned six to ten different songs. maybe i just suck at singing, but midomi just doesn't work for me.

dbush says:

I still have both apps on my iPhone. I certainly lean towards midomi though. With the extra features it's the one I go back to more often. Once, at an extended family dinner, my cousin & I laughed until our stomachs hurt because we were trying to butcher songs while singing them & midomi still got a few of them. (a game app & utility app in one!!)
The phrase 'tag now' in Shazam kinda doesn't fit...it's always has rubbed me the wrong way....but I much prefer the black screens in Shazam to the white in midomi.
But...you can't really go wrong with either.

jstrickland says:

I tried both as well. I eventually ditched Midomi. I found Shazaam to be much more capable of finding the songs in it's database. Also, I find that I am usually in the car, listening to the radio when I need a song identified (so few DJ's identify the songs they're playing these days), so I rarely find the extra Midomi features necessary.
The singing/humming feature in Midomi was kinda neat...when it worked. It seemed to work well when I first got the software. Then, after an update, it rarely ever was able to identify what I was humming. I don't think it was me that got worse.

acroswel says:

I use both. In my experience Shazam is much, much more accurate for all prerecorded music, so I use it most often. I keep Midomi for the times I need to use the other input methods.

cherryhead25 says:

I kept both. Shazam seems much quicker to load so it is better for the car as I don't want to kill myself but Midomi's speaking and humming features are great.

greg says:

At first I had both, but since Midomi does everything I ditched Shazam.

asianboy says:

MIDOMI IS BY FAR BETTER!
The singins search is great and I can use it anytime and show it off to my friends. You can only use shazam when a song is playing on the radio. Try singing into Shazam and you get disappointed.
The grab feature of midomi also works better than Shazam.

B$ says:

Tried Shazam. My results were "Sorry, we couldn't find a match for this music. WE CAN'T IDENTIFY SINGING, HUMMING OR LIVE PERFORMANCES"...ahahha stick with midomi- they can!

erg says:

it's great to see sound recognition technologies starting to get broader use. hopefully someday we'll be controlling the phone with sound alone!
this is a good review of their interfaces, but i'd have liked some more info about each program's speed and accuracy. generally i find shazam pretty accurate with a fugly but usable interface, and midomi variably accurate with a nicer but slightly tap-heavy interface.

Squampton says:

Like many of us, I have both, but Midomi tends to find foreign songs a lot better than Shazam. Also, the sing/hum feature in Midomi can act like a karaoke-type game. Sometimes I play it with friends in a coffee shop; we sure do get some strange looks!

frog says:

Shazam is far more accurate, and seems to find a greater range of music. Extra features are all good and well, but not if the core function suffers as a result.

blackriderx says:

how does either of them work with foreign tunes?

CPalm says:

midomi is great but shazam has the ability to tag songs that have not yet gone into itunes. for shazam, the tag gives the name and youtube link

Sandman#IM says:

I have both but prefer Shazam. In my experience, it identifies more songs than Midomi.

Sham says:

Shazam is not available in the Indian storre. But why?? TIPB, please give me an answer. Do they think that we Indians don't listen to music?
Right now I'm using Midomi. It always identifies the music only after the second 'grabbing'. And as someone has already mentioned its slow. I used to use the another software from gracenotes in my ld Sony Ericsson which was faster.
Shazam, I'm waiting for you to get your visa to land in India.

ethan says:

midomi: just for the singing feature alone. It could find a lot that I could sing. but I guess everyone here likes Shazzam more, so I guess I"ll be reloading it up and testing further.

Kel says:

I'm another person who has both on their phone. Shazam finds a lot more music than Midomi does, but funnily enough whenever I hum something to Midomi it finds it. I must be able to hold a tune - woohoo!

anzai says:

"if Shazam is the Toyota of identifying and tagging music, then Midomi may be the Lexus."
Totally agree. Shazam can identify playing music only. Midomi has exactly the same feature. However Midomi has a better UI design and gives you more options:it also allows you to search for songs by singing, saying, and typing. I also found midomi is catching up in identifying playing music, at least as accurate as shazam now. this is amazing. you know shazam is a pioneer in this area and it was still "more accurate" only a couple of months ago when i first compared the two applications.

Nitar says:

Shazam has a far larger library.

Zyber Joe says:

I've used midomi from the start. :-)

Stephen says:

Shazam has to be the winner for me, I liked the idea behind Midomi, but I'm pretty tone deaf so humming melodies was never going to be a deal closer haha.

marcol says:

Has Midomi got better? I tried it back in July and it was fairly hopeless at identifying recorded songs. Shazam was much, much better (so that's the one I kept on my phone). Is it worth revisiting Midomi then?

God™ says:

I prefer Shazam, but it has been a while since I've used Midomi.
Shazam has consistantly worked for me whereas Midomi can't find half the things I listen to.

Rob H. says:

Count me in the "Shazam is much better than Midomi" crowd. Shazam IDed all but the most independent music for me, while I could only ID mainstream hits with Midomi. Also, you can't exactly hum ambient, EBM or noise making Midomi additionally useless for me.

Mike says:

Features are nice, but Midomi doesn't work most of the time on recorded music.
Most of the songs I like can't be hummed but I still hang on to midomi in those rare cases where a lyric search on google doesn't work.

ck27 says:

Midomi is WAY BETTER
The new version of midomi is also better at identifying original music (it was not before but now it is) I tested both midomi and shazam in noisy environments and midomi was successful even when the noise was loud and music was far away. Shazam failed miserably. Also I have heard that shazam is going to charge although I am not sure if that is true or now (might be a rumor).
I think midomi should redesign its UI to be faster to start the search. With that change there is no reason to keep both apps.

WilliamL says:

This iphone App is not magic, but it sure does seem like it. Hold your iPhone up to the radio, with the base facing the speaker, and within about ten seconds you’ll get the title, artist and even album cover of the song that is playing.

Babyphone for iPhone says:

hey its nice comparison of two app. Here i also want to add one app of the babyphone as a iPhone.
The main screen of Babyphone shows the current status, the microphone sensitivity and the threshold for triggering the alarm.
If the Microphone's display reaches or exceeds the set threshold, the previously defined phone number will be called. After completion of the call and the expiration of the delay Babyphone will reactivate itself again.
In the settings you can enter the number to call. In addition, there is a sleeping interval with an adjustable delay in minutes, after which Babyphone will reactivate itself again.

Song Title Searcher says:

I have always been a Shazam fan, but there are aspects of Midomi that I have secretly coveted. If only they could marry the two and create the ultimate application.

Joshua says:

Shazams gotta a very inviting app look for iphone and its got a far greater database, Shazam rocks all the way and its going to get better

cph says:

I've tried them both.
For songs that are in their databases, both Shazam and Midomi do a good job of "hearing" and identifying songs, even in less than ideal conditions (public places with background noise, bad radio reception--I even identified one song over a shortwave radio!)
Both apps do a good job on identifying current popular (rock, r&b, c&w, rap, etc.) music on the radio. Older songs (say, over 20 years old)
are more likely to be identified if they match one or more of the following criteria:

  • English language (more on foreign language in a moment)
  • American or British.
  • Well known (e.g. Beatles, Elvis, etc. probably have all their songs in the databases, but less well known artists might not)
  • On Billboard or other music chart. "Deep album cuts" might not make it.
  • Secular (coverage of older gospel/CCM is hit or miss at best)

Coverage of British pop is good (especially on Shazam, which is based in England). On the other hand, I had a few Canadian songs which neither service could identify.
Foreign language coverage varies. French (but not French-Canadian) and German are probably best, with Spanish a distant third, at least for songs from Spain. (Neither seemed to know much about Latin pop music from Mexico, or South America).
Shazam, in particular seemed to be very knowledgable about Chinese and Japanese pop music. I even identified a Japanese song that I had taped off the radio 20 years ago. However, other Asian music, such as Vietnamese pop, baffled it.
Neither is too "cultured", as the services didn't seem to know too much about classical music or jazz. Shazam did recognize some non-music material, such as a couple of Bill Cosby comedy bits....

yves says:

I tried both in a restaurant where people were talking.
Music was American (80ies) or Japanese.
Grab feature:
Midomi had an impressive 75% recognition rate, while Shazam was rather around 40%.
I prefer the way Midomi works: there is no black animation, but it does work better and has more features.
The Midomo "Sing it" feature is really funny: try it with your friends (humming works better than singing seemingly) to share a nice moment.

michael says:

i like both of them, both of them reconized my favorite thrash metal band toxik, toxik is from the late 70's/early 80's =D

Tibi says:

Both are very dissapointing for classical music searches ... They can't even find the most popular "tunes" - for example those that you frequently hear in tv ads, etc.

Jose Canciani says:

Both softwares have improved a lot since a year ago when this blog was posted. I suggest anybody reading this to try them both! I have had cases when one could not recognize a song but the other could.
Jose.

Chris K says:

Do they recognise classical music, not just "songs"?

Dill says:

classical music sucks my left nut
after its been rubbed all over your mothers face

David Oesta says:

None of the programs recognize Mexican music well at all and this is a problem.

iphone app reviews says:

In my experience this app has served better as a party game than a real useful tool. Its not that it doesn't work, because it does, it just seems that I can never get out my iPhone and launch the app in time to catch any given song on the radio. I have fun with it at get togethers when friends of mine just cant believe that an app like this exists, let alone works so well...

Mickey Factz says:

I tried grabbing the RSS Feed for your blog but it is not properly displaying in Google Chrome. Any suggestions?

urshurak says:

It's 2 years later now. I tested it in different occasions. Shazam wins on Android. It discovers newer and more rare music than Midomi Soundhound.

ArjjjMusx says:

One thing I've been trying to find but invain is the ability to load up an entire playlist of songs while I'm at a party.
SO... I basically just want my smartphone to turn on Shazaam or Mudomi every 3 minutes, identify the song and paste the song title and artist in simple notepad (For all I care). If the song is the same as last time - Ignore.
IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR. I WILL PAY SOMEONE TO COME UP WITH THIS APP FOR ME. Please help, I am not a coder/programmer so don't know where to start.

asdfsdf says:

just record the party music, and run it manually when you get home? you can skim through the recording every 3 minute or so and just fetch the songs

Lizzieesoh says:

Do either of these work with foreign tunes ? Like Korean songs ?

Kippei says:

yes! shazam works... well i can find popular songs like tonight - bigbang etc i dunno about the others

Reliant192 says:

I have the free shazam app and what I don't like about it is that it only gives you 5 tags every 30 days than harasses you to subscribe and pay $6 does midomi do this?

free ipad 2 no offers or surveys says:

MY PENISSSS HURRRRRRRTTTTTTSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!IM SICK AFTER WATCHING 2girls 1cup 1 guy 1jar and this oh my lord

Rasheeda Decoud says:

Hate when i play a song and someone feels the need to start singing and/or play they're music