Most iPhone apps that become iconic come directly from Apple, are tied to a social networking service, or connect directly to software you use on your desktop software. It is rare to see an app jump out just on its own merits, creating something entirely new utilizing this unique and incredible mobile technology. Shazam has jumped through that barrier and given us a basic feature that is so remarkable that it gives iPhone users a change to flex their cell phone muscle: it listens to a song and then tells you what it is. The basic function of Shazam is to turn it on when a song is playing, and after it internalizes it then it will give you all of the information about the track as well as a number of other options. Here is a look at how to use Shazam on the iPhone, including its basic app tie-ins that allow you to open up its different option.
The first thing that you should note is that you will need the full paid version of Shazam if you want to have full options. If you want the free iPhone app version then you are going to be limited on how many tags you are able to send.
To begin using Shazam open it and choose the default far left tab, which is Tagging. To “Tag” a track you will listen to it and have the software identify it. Beginning this process is simple: wait until the song is playing and then tap the screen. You will see a circular progress bar occur while the program “listens” to the track. When it finishes it will vibrate and then send the information off for analysis. A moment later the information for the track will pop up, telling you the name of the song and the artist.
Below that is going to be a number of different options that you will have. First you can “share” the track using Twitter, Facebook, or your Email. Since Twitter and Facebook are already directly tied to the iOS, this is relatively natural. This essentially lets you post the song on your profile, indicating that you tagged it on Shazam. This can be an important tie in for people who like to use social media in conjunction with their mobile devices for fun functions such as this.
The next option on the list is for Tour Info, which will also request to use your current location for location recall. It will then look up tour dates in your area, though it cannot always find tours that are not tied into larger networks.
YouTube videos are one of the most interesting options because it essentially allows you to listen to the song for free. When you select this option a screen will open up of either different YouTube videos for the search result stemming from the Tag, or just the top option into a Safari window. You can then watch the video, or listen to the song, with the same function as you normally would on your iPhone. Since the Tags are saved in a list, this can be a great way to listen to all the songs that you have saved through Tagging.
You also have the option to port it over to Pandora, Spotify, and Last.fm as either a way to listen to the specific track or create radio stations built around it. These are individually on the list, which gives you options since you may be more inclined to use one of these than the other. Recommendations will simply give you a list of a few other songs and artists that they have recognized as being similar, which is a great way to create an unending pathway of new music.
At the top of the Tag will be the image from the album and a link to iTunes, which is one of the reasons Apple supports it so strongly. This will give you a direct link into the iTunes iPhone app and the option to purchase the song individually and download it to your Music section.
Once you leave your individual Tag screen and go back to the original “Touch to Shazam” screen you can see the other options in the lower task bar. Right next to the Tagging tab will be the My Tags, which will be a list of all the Tags that you have taken in chronological order. If you select one of these then you will go into that Tag screen, like you looked at when you made an original Tag.
The Friends tab, which is in the middle, is a more central way of drawing in Facebook. Since Shazam does not have a social network function of its own it draws on Facebook to create a permanent connection with, though you can Tweet about individual Tags. When you select to log into Facebook it will ask you to install the Shazam app, which will automatically post onto Facebook for you when you tag a song.
The Discover tab is a lot different than the other functions within Shazam in that it really just shows you what’s popular. It gives you a list of the top charts, as well as a search prompt if you want to look up musicians to manually get their Tags. There is also a Blog tab included that gives you relatively generic musical news and updates.
At the furthest end of the lower task bar you will find the settings, which is fairly in depth considering all of the individual features. At the top will be Payment Status, which really is just to see if you have upgraded from the free iPhone app version to the paid one. Below that will be Signup Status that allows you to signup for their web service to get different offers and have a web base for your Tags. This is not directly useful for the app itself, though some people want to be able to look at their large Tag libraries online and get things like their regular newsletter.
You can also address Facebook and Twitter here as well, basically doing the same functions that you could in the other two sections. These will again link into your specific Twitter or Facebook accounts to sync the two, but that is if you want to post about your Tags specifically.
Below this is going to be the Tag Settings, which may be the most functional for the base feature of this application. Here will be a series of On/Off switches for allowing Car Mode when the iPhone is docked, using Bluetooth audio, enabling Tagging right from start up, and to enable the microphone at start up. The microphone and Car Mode questions are set to On as a default.
There is also a section to manage the notifications coming from Shazam and an About option to learn more about the app. Since it keeps the settings internal to the app you will not find a section in your regular iPhone settings for it.