Shazam for iOS review: A must-download for music fans

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Shazam identifies songs, television shows, and commercials almost flawlessly. It has neat features for music discovery and lets you see how your friends and the rest of the world are using the app.

The Bad The app still can't recognize singing or humming, which is something competitors already have.

The Bottom Line With new features and a redesigned interface, Shazam is a top app for music identification and discovery.

Free

8.4 Overall
  • Installation and Setup 9.0
  • Features and Support 8.0
  • Interface 8.0
  • Performance 9.0

Shazam was one of the first apps for iOS that could recognize music and other media around you by "listening" and then displaying the song on your screen with options to buy. And even after all this time, it's still one of the best around.

When it debuted, Shazam was a neat way to show off what a smartphone could do, but it has since evolved to give you much more information about the songs and other media the app recognizes.

Even better, the app continues to improve with each update, and Shazam says there's more to come in the weeks ahead. Check back to learn what Shazam has in store for the app when the promised features become available.

Getting around in Shazam
Upon launch you'll see the main screen, where you can tag a song by hitting the Shazam button in the center of the screen. The design has gotten a facelift since earlier versions, and looks much more streamlined with a deep blue background and flattened interface elements. Across the bottom of the interface are buttons to get to the different features of the app.

A Tags button lets you browse through all your previously tagged songs and other media. The News button shows what your friends have tagged (if you login with Facebook) recently. The Explore button gives you a map interface where you can see what people around the world are tagging. In the lower right, a button labeled Pulse gets you to an area with multiple screens you can browse by swiping to see what's hot on Shazam and other most popular lists.

Identify music, shows, and commercials
Shazam's main function is "tagging" or recognizing media it can hear though your iPhone's microphone. When you hear a song playing you don't recognize, you can touch the Shazam button in the bottom center of your screen and the app will "listen," then display the name of the song on your screen along with album art, buying information, and a list of things you can do with your tagged song.

The list of options is extensive, letting you listen on Spotify or Rdio, watch related videos on YouTube, preview or buy the song on iTunes, look at artist info, and even sing along with lyrics. There are also sharing options for posting it to Twitter and Facebook, or you can send via e-mail, Messages, WhatsApp, and Google+. In other words, when I said extensive, I meant it.

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