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How Does Shazam Work?

20 February 2020

New generation music detective; Shazam. It works almost like Inspector Gadget, - what was the name of this song? In this blog post, we tried to summarize how this successful application that managed to solve this problem quickly.

Digital music platforms have made our access to music much easier with the archive they have created. We can now access the albums we previously expected to come to the music markets with music applications all over the world at the same time. Due to the same increase in usage and demand, leading platforms such as Youtube, AppleMusic, Spotify are adding a new one to their services every day. But there's an app that does what all these platforms can't, which really makes our lives easier.

What is Shazam?

Shazam is an application that can identify music based on a short sample, using the microphone on devices. Having identified the problem of finding songs we've heard before but can't remember the name or the singer, the founders produced this unique, simple application designed to meet the requirements of the era.

Founded in 1999 by Chris Barton, Philip Inghelbrecht, Avery Wang and Dhiraj Mukherjee, Shazam Entertainment Limited initially released this app exclusively in the UK.

Shazam is able to listen to the music playing in the medium for 5-10 seconds and find out what the song and who the singer is through the database, also provides access to the lyrics of the song in the Lyrics section, while My Shazams part keeps the songs you search for by listing them. The app allows you to watch the clip of the song on the Video side, and the share button allows you to share the song on many platforms.

So how does Shazam work?

Shazam encodes music frequencies in fingerprint logic and processes them in the database, from which it can search and match frequencies.


The frequencies produced by the sounds are primarily converted into a known format with a standard algorithm. This process is called the hash. Hash algorithms process the data they receive through a series of mathematical operations, producing complex output.

One of the most important benefits of the Hash function is that it can easily handle a large amount of data. With these outputs you receive, you do not have to maintain the data, and you can verify the accuracy and integrity of the data quickly if you wish. Shazam uses this hash algorithm in its database.

Using sound science and software technology, Shazam easily indexes hundreds of songs that are released every day and uploaded to the internet.

When you search, it is thought to be the song you are listening to that most matches the frequencies encoded with the hash system and the information is shared. In some cases, we play a different version of a song, but the original version is brought before us because of this; the number of matching hash numbers in the same parts of the original song and the different versions may lead the application to the original version.

What Is An Acoustic Fingerprint?

The acoustic fingerprint, as the name suggests, is a kind of identity that only belongs to that voice. Each type of sound contains a combination of values such as tone and bandwidth in a frequency band. Although the sounds we hear sometimes sound the same, this formulation can clearly reveal the differences. With the acoustic fingerprint, which is a key step in identifying a sound, searching between sounds, and providing voice and search operations, Shazam is able to detect songs by searching between sounds.

With all this algorithm, Shazam, the music detective of smartphones, can find a song you're curious about in a million songs in 5-10 seconds and share everything about it with you. :)

The app, which also has Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS and Windows versions, was acquired by the Apple company on December 12, 2017, for $400 million. It has over 50 million users so far. More than 30 billion interrogations have been carried out with the application since its inception.

In musiconline 's blog post this week, we examined Shazam and how it works. If you like our blog post, you can share it on the social media buttons below and subscribe to our weekly newsletter to be instantly informed of new posts.

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