How Shazam Works

Free Won't

There is a cool service called Shazam, which take a short sample of music, and identifies the song.  There are couple ways to use it, but one of the more convenient is to install their free app onto an iPhone.  Just hit the “tag now” button, hold the phone’s mic up to a speaker, and it will usually identify the song and provide artist information, as well as a link to purchase the album.

What is so remarkable about the service, is that it works on very obscure songs and will do so even with extraneous background noise.  I’ve gotten it to work sitting down in a crowded coffee shop and pizzeria.

So I was curious how it worked, and luckily there is a paper written by one of the developers explaining just that.  Of course they leave out some of the details, but the basic idea is…

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