What’s this song? How to easily find out what song you’re listening to

(Pocket-lint) - If you've heard a song and you know it should know what it's called but can't place it, don't worry, there are various ways to find out.  There's nothing more frustrating than hearing a tune being sung, whistled, hummed or played and you can't think of what it is. Maybe you just want to be able to add it to your Spotify[1] Playlist or just jam out to it yourself.

Well, follow this guide and we'll help you find out what that's song called and who it's by. 

Hum to search with Google

Google search is getting better all the time and the clever bods over at Google clearly understand how annoying it is to forget the name of a song. Even more so when you've got it stuck in your head on repeat but can't remember where you heard it. 

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There's a clever "hum to search" feature which is available via the Google App and Google Assistant[2] on your Android phone[3] which lets you hum, whistle or sing the song in question to get the answers you need.  To use Google to find the song follow these steps:

  1. Unlock your phone and head to the home screen
  2. If you have Assistant setup to react to voice actions say "Ok Google"
  3. When it responds say "What's this song?"
  4. Then hum or sing the song or let Google hear it if it's already playing nearby

If you don't have Google Assistant set up that way, open up the Google App instead and click the microphone button then ask "What's this song?" and let Google listen. 

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Get song info automatically with Google

With some modern Android phones running Android 10[4] and above it's actually possible to get song information automatically without even asking Google. 

You do need to turn this on though, but then once it's running you can just open up your phone and you'll be easily able to see the song info.  To turn these settings on:

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  1. Unlock your phone and head over to settings
  2. Look for sound and vibration and click that
  3. Find "Now Playing" 
  4. Then click to turn on "Identify songs playing nearby"

This will then set your phone to listen out for songs and give you that information on-the-fly. You should be able to see the song information on the lock screen, but also in the notification shade.

Open notifications and expand them to see more about the song with ease.  Once this setting is activated you'll also have access to a "Now Playing History" where all the songs your phone has heard are listed. To access that follow the same steps you did to turn this setting on and look for the history under there.

Click on a specific song and you can open it in Spotify, YouTube or YouTube Music[5], as well as sharing it elsewhere. 

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Amazon Alexa Song ID

If you have an Amazon Alexa[6] device in your home and music is playing that you don't recognise then there are a couple of options.  If you're already playing music from Spotify or Amazon Music and you like the song you're listening to but don't recognise it then it's as simple as saying "Alexa, what's this song?" and the voice assistant will tell you.  You can also activate Alexa's Song ID feature[7] though.

This is a setting you can turn on which will tell you the name of the song and the artist each time it starts to play. This only works with Amazon Music[8] but can be a good way to find out what a song is without any fuss.  To activate this setting simply say "Alexa, turn on song ID" and it'll be done. 

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Find a song name with your iPhone

If you use an Apple iPhone[9] then you can use that to find the song you're listening to as well. Apple's Control Centre[10] gives you access to be able to do this. 

This is basically putting Shazam into your Control Centre for easy access. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Open the settings on your Apple iPhone
  2. Press on Control Centre
  3. Find Music Recognition
  4. Tap on the "+" next to it
  5. Use the three lines to the right to move Music Recognition into an easy spot on the control centre
  6. Then when a mystery song is playing, open up Control Centre and click on that icon
  7. The name of the song will appear at the top of your display
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Shazam on desktop

Shazam used to be the go-to app for finding out what a song is. You can still download it on both Android[11] and iOS devices[12].

But since it's mostly been integrated into iPhones anyway, this might not be as worthwhile as it used to be.  However, you can use the Shazam Chrome plugin[13] to find out what a song is when you hear it playing while you're surfing the web. If you're watching a film on Netflix or binging some YouTube videos in a browser and hear a song you can't identify then Shazam can come to the rescue. 

Simply down the plugin and use it whenever you need to.

Easy. 

Writing by Adrian Willings.

References

  1. ^ Spotify (www.pocket-lint.com)
  2. ^ Google Assistant (www.pocket-lint.com)
  3. ^ Android phone (www.pocket-lint.com)
  4. ^ Android 10 (www.pocket-lint.com)
  5. ^ YouTube Music (www.pocket-lint.com)
  6. ^ Amazon Alexa (www.pocket-lint.com)
  7. ^ Alexa's Song ID feature (www.pocket-lint.com)
  8. ^ Amazon Music (www.pocket-lint.com)
  9. ^ Apple iPhone (www.pocket-lint.com)
  10. ^ Apple's Control Centre (www.pocket-lint.com)
  11. ^ Android (play.google.com)
  12. ^ iOS devices (apps.apple.com)
  13. ^ Shazam Chrome plugin (chrome.google.com)