How To Move Mystery Songs From Your Brain To Your MP3 Player

Back in the Stone Age, it used to be the job of radio DJs and Sam Goody employees to translate your pathetic humming and insipid descriptions of songs you like into genuine song titles, as well as the tunes’ artists and albums.

Technology has teamed with capitalism to make it easy to discover the songs that drive you crazy by playing on repeat in your brain. Digital Inspiration runs down cheap and free methods to track down your lost tunes:

*Mobile apps on cell phones – Download Shazam, which will listen to a few seconds of a song on the radio, identify it and show you a prompt to buy it.

*Search engines – If you know a few words of the lyrics, you can type them in on a computer and find the song within seconds.

*HummingMidomi doesn’t even need the genuine article or any lyrics to track down songs. Just hum part of the song and the site will pull up suggestions of possible matches.

What’s your favorite way to unmask mystery music?
Find the Song Name Without Knowing the Lyrics [Digital Inspiration]


Edit Your Comment

  1. DanRydell says:

    99% of the time I use Shazam or Google (include the word “lyrics” in your search).

    I’ve found exactly one song with Midomi, and it was a struggle. I can’t blame them, it’s not exactly an easy task.

  2. Alvis says:

    Ohh, THAT’S what I can use a search engine for! Searching for things!

  3. The cake is a lie! says:

    Your Midomi link has some extra characters…

  4. knackeredmom says:

    Just used Midomi to find Island in the Sun by Weezer. If only I hadn’t embarrassed myself yesterday by humming the tune to my teenage sons. Midomi doesn’t judge. ;-)

  5. osiris73 says:

    I think we killed Midomi.

  6. RosevilleWgn says:

    Last time I tried Shazam on my Android device, it’s limited to the number of songs you can search for, before buying the app.

    • Rachacha says:

      Strange. Shazam was one of the fist apps I downloaded (for free) on my iPhone nearly 3 years ago, and I have tagged hundreds of songs (some just to see how well it worked and others because I liked the song.

      • RosevilleWgn says:

        Yep, I’ve used it years back as well, and was suprised at the change. It’s a decent product, but deffinetly pushes you to be a consumer.

        • YoorCriptonite says:

          Yep this happened a few months ago, but if you had the app before the change, you got grandfathered in and can still use it as much as you’d like.

  7. ovalseven says:
  8. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    I wonder if this would be useful for songwriters who want to make sure they aren’t unconsciously borrowing lyrics or tunes …

    That said, I have had this tune stuck in my head for ages, and I can whistle it or hum it pretty well, and nobody knows what it is from. If I can remember Midomi when I get home tonight, I’ll try it out.

  9. Hotscot says:

    I often get bemused/frustrated with radio here in California as the presenters rarely mention the song/artist after playing. Why is this? You’d think the music industry would like to make it easy for the public to identify potential purchases.

    • JoeDawson says:

      other than the obvious fact that it is dumb to listen to mainstream radio… dont most stations now put the live playlist on their website? you just have to remember when you heard it

      • caradrake says:

        And on what station. And many of those only go back for an hour, so you also have to have access to an internet within a short amount of time.

  10. BlackBirdTA says:

    Or do like Al Bundy did, and sing it to everybody. “hmmm hmmm HIMMMMM”

  11. BlackBirdTA says:

    Or do like Al Bundy did, and sing it to everybody. “hmmm hmmm HIMMMMM”

  12. summerbee says:

    Or, you can post it on Youtube and get an answer…within a few months.

    I know that sounds like a long time, but a random stranger helped me to find the name/artist of a song that I’ve been trying to hunt down for 17 years.

  13. NotEd says:

    Of the mobile apps I’ve tried in the past I liked Shazam, but had more luck when humming some song stuck in my head with Soundhound.
    Both are generally good though.

    • pdj79 says:

      +1 – Soundhound is the best when it comes to humming songs….although their database of available songs seems to be lacking on some songs or just flat wrong…it wants me to believe that this latest Katy Perry tune is actually being sung by some breathy Tejano middle-aged man.

  14. brownhb says:

    I had this idea – the humming a song to ID it — ages ago! If only there was an xkcd-like business where I could apply for my cut. . .I totally told my friend Cat about it, she’ll vouch for me.

  15. Fryboy 11 says:

    I like soundhound better than Shazam. They both work about the same when it comes to identifying songs, but soundhound can also give you lyrics and related songs info on your whole library.

  16. FrugalFreak says:

    That midomi didn’t detect even with a whole chorus sung

  17. cromartie says:

    Soundhound, though it isn’t useful when dealing with insturmentals, sadly.

  18. chaosgasket says:

    The Midomi link is busted. Here you go –