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Mango’s Music Search Is OK But Doesn’t Trump Shazam

After reading the blog post from Microsoft about the new Music Search that was coming in Mango (and Xbox) I was pretty excited. In fact, I surmised that this would end Shazam as an app on Windows Phones. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I’m running the dev Mango release and I’ve put Music Search to the test a bunch of times and overall I’m not sold on it. I’ve tried it at weddings and in bars (where there’s obviously poor sound systems and lots of ambient noise) and it never once picked up the track. It routinely would search for 30 seconds and then state that no matches were found. I know this isn’t an easy feat to pull off, except Shazam was able to get matches in some of these scenarios. In fact, if music was played too low with background noise (you know, like in real life) I had a few cases where Music Search gave the wrong song. In perfect conditions it is perfect and even finds the album the song was from and if it was a live version, etc. Cool and all but you need ideal conditions for this and let’s admit it, most of the times you’d use this would be somewhere like a bar and you want to know a random song playing. Now I do want to note that both Shazam and Music Search fingerprint songs so they just send key points in the song to the cloud servers for detection rather than sending the whole audio file, and while that saves bandwidth neither would detect a live performance. So I don’t want to be unfair here, so we’re talking about songs being played by a DJ in both cases.

Well I’m a bit disappointed since I thought it was going to be a killer app and I hope there are still improvements coming (which would likely happen on MS’s cloud that is detecting the songs so it wouldn’t be an OS upgrade). For those of you using Mango, what are your findings? Same as me or am I missing something?