As its name implies, the $1 MusicID with Lyrics, by Gravity Mobile, identifies music played over the air and provides lyrics to those songs (when available, of course). It also supplies more info depending on the song you’ve identified; you’ll usually also get the name of the album along with album art, a link to iTunes and to YouTube videos as well as a short artist’s biography and a list of similar songs.
I turned the app loose on a wide range of music and found that, in a quiet room at a normal volume, most songs were identified in times ranging from 6 to 20 seconds. (Of course, your results may vary.) At its fastest, that puts it in competition with some of the better known apps in this category. However, the app consistently failed to perform in noisy environments (my tests included a busy restaurant and a gym), which offsets any speed advantage. Song lyrics are presented in simple list form without scrolling in time to the music, a feature which some of MusicID’s competitors offer.
Additional features include a Search button lets you search for songs by artist, song title or lyrics. A My Songs list stores previously identified songs so that you can return to them later. The app’s Popular option appears to be a list of the most identified songs by other MusicID users. Another useful feature is the Now Playing button which displays lyrics and other info about the song that’s queued up in your device’s Music app. Tapping at the top of the screen displays playback controls so that you can pause and skip the current track.
See how MusicID with Lyrics compares to other music identification apps for iOS
Unfortunately, MusicID can’t queue songs directly from your music library, so a task like changing playlists requires a trip back to the built-in Music app. If you want to inform others about songs you’ve found or are listening to, you can share that information via email, but there are no options to post to Twitter or Facebook, another feature offered by many of MusicID’s competitors.
Overall, MusicID with Lyrics is a simple yet functional music identification app. Most of the time, it returns results quickly; however it’s easily overwhelmed in noisy environments where it seems an app like this might be used most often. MusicID provides other basic features, like album art, lyrics, iTunes links and so forth, and it can also provide some of that same info for tracks stored on your device while also providing a rudimentary music player. On one hand, $1 seems like a reasonable price for what you get, but if you’d prefer to hang onto your cash, and you don’t care about song lyrics, then you can download a free version, MusicID+ which contains all the same functionality with unlimited song lyric-lookups available as a $1 in-app purchase. On the other hand, the app faces some stiff competition from other free music ID apps that provide all these same features, and more, including unlimited song lyrics.
[Brian Beam is a musician, software designer and partner with web development firm BOLD Internet Solutions, living somewhere near Kansas City.]