Published: 10 Jun, 2021
Music Identification App will identify any song in seconds. In these 18+ years of helping clients succeed out of the internet, we worked on several ‘similar to’ or ‘clone’ websites and apps. We always start by asking the clients what purpose they want to make a website or app like Shazam. In our mobile app development service and consulting practice, we are inspired by Peter Drucker, the original business guru. We often use modified versions of Peter Drucker’s five questions in our talks with our clients:
What is our Mission?
Who is our Customer?
What does the Customer Value?
So, with Peter Drucker in mind, we asked our clients with the ‘clone’ app projects: What do they hope to achieve?
“In the information age, the barriers [to entry into programming] aren’t there. The barriers are self-imposed. If you want to set off and develop some great new thing, you don’t need millions of dollars of capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on, and the dedication to go through with it. We slept on floors. We waded across rivers.”
– John Carmack, pioneering computer-game designer
Some clients are forthright in their answers and say they want success. We say the success of a popular website or app is not just because of the originality and functionality or both. Instead, the success of a popular website or app is because of the business opportunity exploited quickly with a marketing campaign executed smartly, mobile app development for users, and most often than not, the amount of money they invested in the project consistently along with building teams, improving the product, making on the spot course change (we know it as ‘pivot’).
Making a business model work takes a lot of time and energy. It involves willpower.
In the preface to his book ‘Zero to One, the famous entrepreneur (Paypal and others) and venture capitalist Peter Thiel writes:
“Of course, it’s easier to copy a model than to make something new. Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more familiar things. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The art of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.“
Some clients want the functionality of the popular online brands, which plan to integrate into their existing or new projects. Which is good, we think.
So far, no client has shown interest in making a ‘similar to’ / clone website or app just because they wanted to see for themselves how a certain functionality works in the back end – for example; I remember at one (long, long ago) time many were intrigued by Twitter UI, or by Friendfeed (the precursor to Facebook feed). Most clients assume this is the developer’s domain – reverse-engineering the code behind every functionality, one module and one feature at a time.
Asking questions like ‘how does that work’ is how many innovations start.
We will deal with this in another post. For now, allow me to layout how Shazam, the popular music identification app, works.
Table of contents
The Shazam music identification app identifies music, movies, advertisements, and TV shows based on a short audio sample played and using the microphone on the device.
Chris Barton created it, and his team at Shazam Entertainment in London in 2018 sold to Apple for a reported $400 million.
The original business model for Shazam was that it launched in 2002 as a 2580 service. 2580 being the phone number, people in the U.K. dialled to get the music recognized. After a 30 seconds call, the caller received an SMS with a song title and artist name.
As per Wikipedia, until it was acquired, Shazam had received $92 million in funding. In the real world, dreams cost money to make real. Big chunks of money.
Before Shazam came onto the scene, many app development companies tried to identify music successfully with an app like shazam but were unsuccessful. Reason: They limited song identification to several radio stations. So you had to enter the exact time you heard the song and the radio station’s name to find out what song was playing, which was not as efficient in practice.
Shazam is now a popular smartphone app. Its business model is to generate revenue primarily via referrals. The app provides users with links to purchase music, television programming, and more through content distributors partners.
You will be surprised to know Shazam code ignores almost everything in a song and instead focuses on three critical dimensions of music: amplitude, frequency and time.
They examined using the three dimensions. Every song has a spectrogram (a visual way of representing a signal – in less visible terms, think of it as a 2-column table, where the first column corresponds to the frequency and the second corresponds to the time.) divided into several small pieces, called fingerprints.
The Shazam database contains more than 35 million tracks, and the database is expanding with new songs every day.
Shazam is no more the only music identification application on the internet. In 2011, Echo Nest introduced the EchoPrint API, an open-source music fingerprint and resolving framework. As a result, many new music identification apps and music recognition technologies were introduced. For example, in the United States, Gracenote publicly shares its API and introduces its music recognition app called MusicID.
Method 1: The most obvious way to start is to use mobile app development services & solutions developed by either EchoNest (EchoPrint API – open Source) or Gracenote.
Method 2: Develop your Recognition Algorithm
There are now many tutorials and codes to help with this. For example, there is Freeze. https://github.com/Lizzi-Busy/freezam
Method 3: Method 1 + User Acquisition and Retention
This is because songs recognition is not the only feature that should be in your app. As we have seen, music identification is easy, and the technology is accessible to everyone.
Help comes if you came up with your secret sauce.
It would help if you stood out from the crowd.
You must create features that entertain the user, inducing them to use your application more.
Shazam is always looking to build a partnership with people in the business – famous labels, music, television and advertising companies, moviemakers and game developers. Shazam works directly with artists to upload their tracks before their official release. They are always on the lookout for new and unusual sounds and songs.
Building up a business is a constant hustle.
We are now talking about the UI and design aspect. We have to appeal to the user’s emotions.
Shazam and others have animated voice recognition circles.
You should know that the procedure of photo/video recognition is also based on fingerprinting, and (if you need this feature) you need access to a massive library of screens and pictures from services such as Moodstocks and Clarifai.
We can also use the delightful Cleveroad library (available on Github) to achieve Shazam-like audio recognition visualization.
Shazam also has ‘Shazam it’ and Shazam visual recognition:
Users tap the camera icon on iPhone or Android to Shazam posters, magazines or books (it works as a QR code reader also)
It would help if you came up with your fun take on search visualization, which is easily and uniquely recognizable.
Everybody knows Shazams are rotating and chattering spheres.
You have to think in terms of a platform. And platforms are nothing but a community. Start by making your music identification app social.
Shazam has a feed consisting of the songs Shazamed by top celebrities.
You can have a news feed showing the most popular songs (by genre, country), top trending songs, most searchable songs, as well as a dedicated place for news about artists and their music. It also shows recent news in the music industry or everything that comes to your mind (which is feasible, of course).
So that users do not lose any music they looked up to. Every search they perform will be saved to their account and can access from any device everywhere.
This feature gives an aura of ‘busyness’ to your app whenever a user launches it.
Shazam, Soundhound and TrackID have an interactive map showing what people are searching for and listening to at the moment. And users can listen to that music right away.
Soundhound (a Big-Time Shazam Competitor Nowadays) Users Can:1. View lyrics that are moving in real-time with the music
2. Access artists, band photos and their biographies
3. Download songs or albums instantly
4. Similar artists and album recommendations
The search is saved on the user’s device for the places with no internet connection and start to restore as soon as the link is renewed.
Shazam, SoundHound and TrackID work online and also support offline search.
This is for referral income and makes users stay in your app for more than 30 seconds. Make sure your app redirects users to Google Play or App Store to buy the song or a YouTube reference to check the musician’s latest music video.
The Shazam app directs the user to buy tickets to see their favourite artists live at their shows, making referral income in the process.
Take, for example, TrackID, which Sony discontinued in favour of Shazam in 2017. TrackID focused not on functionality but rather on stylish, fresh design and availability. It translated into 60 languages!
Designwise, TrackID was leek, simple, and not overloaded by lots of different features and tricks. TrackID also had a live music map.
The idea is to start with a favourite song and then connect with specific Spotify playlists. The party host can turn on their favourite party playlist on Spotify, and then the guests at the party can use Shazam to influence that playlist, making sure everyone hears something they like.
By now, you know of the technology behind Shazam and that most of it are open Source and not expensive. In the ‘secret sauce’ section above, you will have noticed that creating a stand app involves a lot of UI/UX work, special features development and so on, and this is where you will need to decide the scope of your project.
The scope of your dream development of a music identification app will determine the time and money it would need to move from the concept to the campaign stage.
We can be blase about it and quote a time frame. But, we like to have a chat first.
Now that you have a fair picture of the music identification business, let us talk and then we will come to an honest view of your dream project.
Maybe you want an MVP (Minimal Viable Project) done, and later we can add on more bells and whistles.
Or, maybe you have deep pockets and a lot of conviction and want to ‘revolutionize’ the whole process; you can build your music identification app with the android app development services and ios app development services.
Big things start with small beginnings, so who knows?
Whatever your vision is, Let’s talk first.
Let’s talk about dreams.
I think this is the right approach.
As they say, ‘SHAZAM!’
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