How Music-Identification Apps Work

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Since it started in 1999, Shazam has been used to identify songs over fifty billion times, and that’s not even counting the IDs from Soundhound, MusicID, and other sound-recognition apps. From a user’s perspective, it’s simple: Start the app, press a button, and let your phone listen to the song. After a few seconds, even with background noise and distortion, the app will tell you what the song is. It works so quickly and so well that it almost seems like magic – but, as with most magical things these days, it’s mostly run by algorithms. What’s the idea behind

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