Fans of Sony Ericsson can surely boast about their TrackID service, which gives you the details of a music track currently being played, like the name of the artist, and the song title. You just have to record a few seconds of music with TrackID, and within seconds, you will automagically have the details of the song.
PC users like me have long searched for a similar application, to identify music currently being played. Sometimes, you hear a track somewhere, and would like to know which band or artist is playing.
Well rejoice, now you can!
We will be using a nice little software, which is very easy to use, called Tunatic. Simply, it’s what I’d call “TrackID for PC”.
It’s very simple to use. Go to the website, download the installer (for Windows and Mac only for the moment), install it normally, and you are ready to go. Did I mention that it was free?
The interface is very very simple to understand and use. It consists of a magnifying glass-like button, an oscilloscope line, and the usual minimize-restore-close buttons. That’s it!
The settings are very simple too. In fact, there’s only an option to select the sound source.
To be able to work, Tunatic requires you to have a microphone plugged in to your computer. Any microphone that is compatible with your PC or system will work. You will, of course, need a sound card with a microphone input. Most have one these days.
The operation is simple. Plug in the microphone and launch Tunatic. Make sure your sound card is selected from Tunatic’s settings. Next, point the microphone to your music source (radio, pc speakers, …) and click on the magnifying-glass button in Tunatic. You will see the horizontal line start vibrating (it’s the oscilloscope). Keep the microphone near the music source, and wait a few moments.
You will usually get the results in around 15 seconds. You will be given the music track’s title, and the artist name. You will also see a small arrow button which takes you online for more details. Easy huh?
I’ve put it to test 4 times till now. It gave me the correct results 3 times! The failed result was a remixed DnB track I found online somewhere on a blog, so it was understandable. I used it on two known music tracks to test if it really worked, and on a video on YouTube, which had an interesting song (it came from Metal Gear Solid 3 OST, according to Tunatic). For the tests, I pointed the microphone from my headset to my computer speakers. You could try with a radio and see, or a mobile phone. Experiment!
If you want to help the Tunatic project index more tracks, you might want to check Tunalyzer. It will scan your computer for tracks not in Tunatic’s online database, and send samples of the music to the database. Later, other Tunatic users will be able to identify your particular song using Tunatic. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Mac at the time of writing.
In my opinion, Tunatic is a great service, and the only one I know to offer pc-based software recognition similar to the TrackID from GraceNote service. It’s a very good initiative, and I hope it remains free. Tunatic might not recognize everything you throw at it, but it will for a majority of songs. In the mean time, download it and go identify some unknown tracks!