Tech Advice19th December 2014

Seeing the Music

A quick look at a couple of apps that allow you to know what song is playing right now and also live subtitles of it!

by Karl Jenkins

If you’re interested in the songs and music that are playing around you, then there are apps available for your phone or tablet (iOS and Android) to let you know the name of the song, who sang it and even full live lyrics (subtitles) to the current hits!

At a recent Christmas party I attended, a Deaf friend was interested in the music that was playing but couldn’t really hear or identify any of the songs. In fairness, I couldn’t identify most of the songs either – it was mostly 80s R’n’B which is not a favourite of mine. After several of us had been asked a few times “What song is on now?” followed by much debate over who actually sang it – I suddenly had an idea. I instructed my friend to use the app store on their phone to install an app called SoundHound and gave them a quick demo.

The app is able to ‘listen’ to the music that’s playing around you – ideally you need to be close to the source of the music, or it needs to be sufficiently loud that the phone can detect it. The phone activates the microphone for a few seconds and then transmits that clip to a huge online database which in only a few seconds will identify the song and the information pops up your screen. My friend was amazed at this and then I thought that maybe there’s many more Deaf/HoH people out there who could benefit from something like this.

People who are getting a bit older might find it really useful to be able to see the lyrics scrolling on their screen – live – just like subtitles so they can follow along with the words of the track, or they might just want to use it to identify all that noise new music that’s played on radios today.

If you’d like to try out this for yourself, it’s really easy to do; two of the most widely known apps are SoundHound and Shazam. You can get SoundHound for your Apple phone or tablet here and for your Android device here.  If you’d like to give Shazam a try, then you can get the Apple version here and the Android version here.

Just open up the app and press the big button, here’s SoundHound:

Then a few seconds later you should see something like this:

The section in the middle will show you the lyrics of the song that's currently playing and if you press on those you'll see all the words with the current line of the song highlighted.

So there you have it - get downloading, and start discovering the rubbish music that's playing all around. Unless you love Christmas songs from the 50s of course and then you'll have a great time!

Article by Karl Jenkins

posted in Technology / Tech Advice

19th December 2014