I’ve started using a service on my iPhone called Shazam. I have to say it is one of the best iPhone apps for someone like me. I like to listen to the radio, especially college stations, to find new bands. Though college stations do tell you what they’ve played, it can often be 8 or 10 songs between announcements about what was played. I’m not always in the car to hear the announcement. Sure, many of them have the information on their websites, but then you have to look up the station’s website, remember the time you were listening to the song and hope they have it right on the site.

Enter Shazam. I thought the app was awesome when I first heard about it, long before I had an iPhone. When you hear a song and want to know who it is and the name of the song, you simply start the app and hold the phone up. The phone samples the song and sends it to a service for pattern matching. If it finds a match, it reports back with the information. There have only been a few songs so far that it didn’t know, I’d say 1 in 10. I’m fine with that success rate, that’s 9 of 10 that I wouldn’t have known before, and have to imagine it’ll improve with time.

I was worried it’d be hard to use in the car, but I just leave it open with the phone in the cup holder and I can just tap the screen anywhere when I want to identify the song. Takes less attention than changing the radio station.

When I was on my way home from the Tijuana Sweetheart show, I heard something odd. Stayin’ Alive, but slower with a stronger guitar sound. And the vocalist sounded like Ozzy Osbourn. Surely that couldn’t be what it was. I hit Shazam and sure enough it was Ozzy covering Stayin’ Alive with Dweezil Zappa. Saved me having to remember to google it when I got home and saved me the time of trying to google it and find a version to listen to to be sure that’s what it was. I subscribed to the lifetime membership for Shazam right after that. It was only $7 and the app was free, well worth the price.

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