Free Online Services That Can Name Unknown Songs

Man lying down listening to music
Westend61/Getty Images

Popular music identification apps such as Shazam and SoundHound are useful tools to keep on your mobile device so you can quickly name unknown songs as they play.

But, what if you want to do the same thing retrospectively? That is, name a song that's not even playing?

One way is to use an online service. These work in a similar way to a Music ID app in that they use an online database as a reference to try and match your query. But, the way they do it can vary drastically. Some take the normal audio route by capturing your voice via a microphone. However, some take an alternative route, such as identifying a song from the lyrics​ or analyze an uploaded audio file that you've managed to record.

01
of 03

Midomi

Screenshot of Midomi Website

Melodis Corporation

What We Like

  • Identifies songs from a 10-second sample that is sung or hummed.

  • Offers a free community experience.

  • Search by lyrics, artist, or song title.

What We Don't Like

  • Need to sing into a microphone in an area with limited background noise.

  • Some songs aren't in Midomi's data base.

Not only is Midomi useful for identifying unknown songs, but it's also a community-driven website where users can connect with each other. The service also has a digital music store with over 2 million tracks.

The service uses voice sampling. This can be useful when you need to identify a song that has already played, but it's still fresh in your mind. To use Midomi, all you need is a microphone. This can be a built-in one or an external device attached to a computer for example.

Midomi's website is easy to use and you can sing, hum, or even whistle (if you're good at it). For times when you can't use a music ID app to sample a song in real-time, the Midomi website can come in useful.

02
of 03

Lyrster

Screenshot of Lyrster website.

Lyrster.com 

What We Like

  • Requires only a few lyrics to identify songs.

  • Searches hundreds of lyrics websites.

What We Don't Like

  • News feature is not maintained.

  • Site is ad heavy.

If you can't remember how a song goes, but know a few words then this may be all that's needed to get a result using Lyrster. As you've probably guessed, this service works by matching lyrics rather than analyzing actual audio.

The big advantage in using Lyrster is that it searches over 450 lyrics websites. So, in theory, you are more likely to get better results using this search engine.

The website is easy to use and gives good results, even though its music news feature hasn't been updated in a long time.

03
of 03

WatZatSong

Screenshot of the WatZatSong website.

 WatZatSong.com

What We Like

  • Community-driven song identification.

  • Visitors to the website listen to your lyric or song snippet and provide answers or guesses.

  • Active community supplies many answers in only minutes.

What We Don't Like

  • Inaudible samples or inaccurate lyrics may not receive answers.

  • No easy way to see if others have already posted about the same song.

If all else fails you could always ask someone to name that tune, couldn't you? If you've tried singing, humming, whistling, uploading samples, and typing in lyrics to no avail, then WatZatSong could be your only hope.

Rather than relying on a robot, it's sometimes better to ask real people on the Net, and that's exactly how WatZatSong works. The website is community-based and all you have to do is post a sample for other users to listen to.

The service works well, and you normally get an answer quickly — unless it's obscure or inaudible.