[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!
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!
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.
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.
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.