Who Wrote That Song? How To Identify Music You’ve Heard.

“I heard this awesome song on the radio but I don’t know who sings it.” Sound familiar? Maybe you heard the song in a commercial, or at a party, or somewhere else. Well, here’s how to identify it.

With Lyrics

If the song had lyrics, you’re already off to a good start. Take for example Apple’s new iPhone commercial.

You can make out some of the words that the singer sings as being, “Oh you girls will never know, you girls will never know, how you make a boy feel…” So the first thing to do is Google the lyrics. But in order to improve the accuracy of the search, you need to do a few things. For example, a simple thing to do is to add the word “lyrics” to the query. Another thing to do is to group certain words together by putting them in quotes, but only the words you’re absolutely sure occur together. So for example, a search for the lyrics above would look like this:

lyrics "girls will never know" "make a boy feel"

This will give you a bunch of hits, but of course Google being Google, the first result is FRANZ FERDINAND – NO YOU GIRLS LYRICS. So now I know that the song is likely by Franz Ferdinand and the song’s name is likely “No You Girls.” Great, but now for some confirmation. Armed with this information I can now go to either iTunes or the Amazon MP3 store where I can run a search for “No You Girls Franz Ferdinand” and get a link to the whole album and–and this is the key–a playable sample of the song.

Screenshot of Amazon's MP3 preview

Having confirmed that it’s in fact the song that I was looking for, I’m now free to purchase it and enjoy it as much as I like.

No Lyrics?

What if the song doesn’t have lyrics? Then you can go to sites like AdtunesWhat’s That Called, SoundtrackNet and TV Commercial Music Forum who specialize in helping you find tracks that are in commercials and movie trailers (usually without lyrics). You can also go to YouTube and search for the commercial or trailer name. Clips there sometimes have artist names in the info box. And if you’re into longshots, you can also try Songtapper, which lets you tap out the rythm of the song with your spacebar and then tries to match it with the rythm of songs stored in its database.

Happy song hunting!

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