What is Shazam and how does it work?

If you’ve ever been out in a shop, cafe, restaurant, or bar and wondered what that song playing over the speakers is called, you’ll want to hear about Shazam. 

Shazam is an app that prevents you from needing to frantically Google the lyrics or ask someone around you when you’re dying to know the name of a track. Keep reading to learn more about the app. 

What is Shazam? 

Shazam is a mobile app designed to recognise the music playing around you. Originally developed by UK-based company Shazam Entertainment, Shazam was acquired by Apple in 2018. 

To use the app, all you need to do is tap your screen. Shazam listens to the music behind you in real life or playing via TikTok, Instagram or YouTube. It then tells you the name of the song playing, the artist, and how many times that particular song has been Shazam-ed. 

From there, you can play the song, watch videos, read lyrics, and view information about live shows. 

This is a far cry from the original Shazam which was founded more than 20 years ago. Back then, users would need to dial 2580 and hold their phone up to the sound playing. The service would then send that person an SMS detailing the track name and artist. 

Thankfully, nowadays you can find Shazam in both the Android and iOS app stores with support for a wide range of devices including smartphones and smartwatches. There’s also a MacOS desktop app and a Chrome browser extension. 

For a long time, Shazam could also be found built into Snapchat as a Scan feature. However, Snapchat recently announced that this feature would no longer be available with the company explaining that it would be “bringing more focus to other Snapchat products” instead. 

How does it work? 

Shazam works by listening to a song with your device’s built-in mic and creating a digital fingerprint based on what it can hear. That fingerprint is then compared with the millions of tracks in Shazam’s database to find a perfect match. 

This entire process happens in a matter of seconds, making Shazam an incredibly fast and convenient way to identify unknown songs.

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