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How to Make a Music Identification App Like Shazam

  • Rating — 4.5 (8 voices)
  • by Ivanna Denys
  • Updated on January 24, 2019
  • Read —
    5-6 minutes
a girl with headphones and smartphone

When it comes to a song recognizing app, the first one that comes to mind is Shazam. And it’s no surprise since statistics show that this application has about 300-400 million annual users and has been downloaded more than 1 billion times. Nowadays, Shazam is the most used app to detect songs in the world and the number of its users is still rising every year.

Why is it so? The simple answer is that many people consider music an essential part of their lives. And if some song touches the strings of our souls we want to save it and listen to it again and again for a long long time. But speaking more practically, Shazam app is just a really quality product that combines amazing functions, great design, and a few other important elements which all together contribute to its popularity.

In this article, we’ll try to explain how exactly Shazam works and what features you must pay attention to if you want to create your own app to identify music.

  1. How does Shazam app work?
  2. How to build an app like Shazam
  3. Monetization strategy
  4. App development costs

How does Shazam app work?

Shazam is a song finder so, naturally, its key function is music identification. From a user’s perspective, everything looks pretty simple. When you hear a song you like, for example, somewhere in the street, you just need to tap a Shazam button and the app will recognize what’s playing in a few seconds. A great thing about Shazam is that this app can recognize a song even if the environment is noisy and there are many other distracting sounds around.

smartphone screens with shazam app

There is also such thing as Auto Shazam. If enabled, this feature keeps ‘catching’ tunes even when the application is closed. On top of that, Shazam works well in an offline mode, meaning that if something goes wrong with the Internet connection, it will still save your search.

As of today, Shazam app is available for iOS and Android devices, as well as Apple Watch, Android Wears, and macOS. There is also a lite version for Android that weighs less than 1MB.

It’s also worth mentioning that Shazam is not the only one music-identifying app on the planet. Its closest alternatives are Soundhound and TrackID. So if you want to enter this market, we recommend you to study them too.

How to build an app like Shazam

To build an app similar to Shazam, you need to know what the function the latter one includes. So let’s take a brief look at the key Shazam’s functionality.

Music identificationMusic identification. At first glance, it looks like magic but it’s actually just a sophisticated audio-search algorithm. All secrets of Shazam’s technical part were revealed in the file published by its creator Avery Li-Chung Wang. For your app, you can either develop your own song-recognition algorithm or use the APIs offered by other companies such as EchoNest, AudD, or GraceNote.

Saving songs

Saving songs. Shazam allows its users to save the tracks they like by adding them to Apple Music and Spotify playlists. What’s even more, music lovers can see what songs their favorite artists Shazamed, as well as recommendations and news feed with the videos, albums etc. from celebrities they follow and popular music in their specific location.

Additional infoAdditional info. With the help of Shazam, you not only can identify the music playing around. The app also provides a lot of information about the songs (title, artist, album, lyrics, a number of times it was Shazamed etc.). In addition, it shows the link to a YouTube video if a song has one.


Personalization. Shazam lets you create your personal account, so you can save the songs you identified and follow the musicians. By the way, personalization has been a top app development trend in recent years, so there are no chances you can go without it.

Connection to social mediaConnection to social media. Users can connect their Facebook accounts to Shazam to see what songs their friends Shazamed. They can also share the songs they Shazamed via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Since nowadays, social media integration is a must-have feature for any app, you should also consider including it in your application.

Of course, to make a successful application or website like Shazam, it’s not enough just to copy its features and make a clone product. You’ll also have to think about some unique features that will make your app stand out from the competition. For example, Soundhound was the first app that made the hum recognition possible.

Monetization strategy

It’s not a secret that the ultimate goal of creating an app is making money. That’s why before starting the development process, you’ll also need to think about the monetization strategy you’ll use. In general, there are two options:

For your music identification app, you can either choose one of the above strategies or apply both of them simultaneously like Shazam did that. Specifically, there are two versions of this app. The first version is a free one. It can be downloaded without paying any money, but it contains in-app ads. To install the second version (Shazam Encore), users have to pay $2.99. The advantage is that it offers an ad-free experience.

App development costs

The budget required to develop a Shazam-like app will depend on its complexity. In general, all calculations will be based on the time needed to complete the project and developers’ hourly rates. The rates can vary greatly because programmers in different geographical regions charge different fees for their work. But to give you a quick hint, software engineers from Eastern Europe offer the best price/quality ratio.

Putting it all together

As you may see, there is no any magic behind Shazam. Like any other top software product,  its success is just a combination of good coding and perfect product-market fit. So if you’ve always dreamt about creating your own song-identifying app, may the leadership position of Shazam not stop you. Just do deep research, determine what music-lovers need besides the functionality that is already offered on the market, and you’ll be good to go.

Already have an app idea and cannot wait to become a Shazam competitor?

Ivanna is a Content Marketing Manager of GBKSOFT passionate about tech advancements, marketing, and startups. Her dream is to make the virtual world a better place with the help of a written word.

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