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Music Media Communications

AT&T Wireless Announces Music ID Service 333

mindless4210 writes "AT&T Wireless announced today the release of their new Music ID Service from Musicphone. AT&T customers can identify songs by dialing '#ID' and holding their phones next to the music source. Daily Wireless did a full review of the new service, testing it in several environments against different genres of music. Now you can finally figure out the name of that song on the radio that you've been dying to know!"
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AT&T Wireless Announces Music ID Service

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  • Is this a cool idea? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:22PM (#8875667)
    Yes [yes.net]
  • by jrj102 ( 87650 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:22PM (#8875668) Homepage
    I've done extensive development work in the area of audio watermarking and audio fingerprinting, and I'm amazed that AT&T can make this happen, given the reduced fidelity of a wireless phone connection. Music fingerprinting technology is a smaller (and more approachable) problem domain than open-ended speech recognition, but still this is quite an achievement.

    I congratulate them on the technical achievement, but I think that $0.99 (which is the price quoted in the review) is way too high a price for this service-- for that I could actually buy the song on iTunes or Napster. Unless they drop the price, I don't think this service will be terribly successful.

    On an interesting note, it is not clear from their TOS whether or not you still have to pay for a song recognition even if the service is unable to accurately provide you with the song title.

    Cool idea, but not for a buck.

    --- JRJ [jrj.org]
    • by MaineCoon ( 12585 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:25PM (#8875714) Homepage
      How could you buy it on iTunes or Napster, unless you know the name?

      Now, will their system overload if you try to get it to recognize Death Metal?

      • How could you buy it on iTunes or Napster, unless you know the name?

        You know, I was thinking about this, and the real solution here is for AT&T to partner up with iTunes and/or Napster in this regard.

        It'd be pretty cool to be able to tell iTunes, "I'd like to be able to buy this song..." (holding cell phone up to the radio), pay the standard $0.99, and then let iTunes pass off a nickel or so to AT&T.

        But, yeah, doubling the price to hold up your phone to the radio rather than type a lyric frag
      • by cheezit ( 133765 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @07:12PM (#8876203) Homepage
        Let's see...ultra-mechanical rhythms, very repetitive, cookie-monster vocals, no dynamics....I bet death metal would be easy. Plus, if it misidentified a song, who would know?
    • I don't think it's too much money, after all, I know 99% or more of the songs I want to know the names of, and as such wouldn't bat an eye at the one out of 100 I didn't.
    • by Torgo's Pizza ( 547926 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:33PM (#8875838) Homepage Journal
      It would be better if they bundled the pricing with an option to purchase the song as well. Chances are that if I want to know the name of the song, I would buy it as well. A buck for the name of the song and buying it becomes a value to me.
      • They ARE going to bundle the ability to buy the song, the album, or the ring tone of a song eventually. THAT is where the real revenue will come for them. As other people have noted a buck for the ID is expensive, but if they can get the people with the disposable income to use further services then they probably have a good revenue stream. Personally I would carry the cost of the ID service and do all the bundling, kind of use the ID feature as a loss leader to bring people into the ad stream for all the o
    • One thing tech people aren't good at is deciding how much to charge for a product. Most tech people will charge way to low for a product. I used to be that way, until I found out how much a house costs and how much a lawyer and doctors charge.
      • I used to be that way, until I found out how much a house costs and how much a lawyer and doctors charge.

        Yeah, well, when your appendix explodes, or you're about to lose everything you own in some ridiculous lawsuit, the cost of a doctor or lawyer begins to seem perfectly reasonable - no matter what that cost is.

        There's a vast difference between the value of those services and the value of "Ohhh... it's called 'Baby Got Back'? I always thought it was called 'I Like Big Butts'"
    • by phatsharpie ( 674132 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:41PM (#8875923)
      On an interesting note, it is not clear from their TOS whether or not you still have to pay for a song recognition even if the service is unable to accurately provide you with the song title.

      From the article:

      AT&T will let you test the service for free your first call, but everytime after that it costs $.99 cents, plus standard airtime charges. If it can't guess the song, then your next call is free.

      Not fan of the "next call is free" policy. I'd rather have the current call to be free. Who knows when will I try to use it again.

      • the "next call is free" policy, i would assume, is implemented to discourage people from abusing the system.. with music they KNOW the system can't identify. i.e. they still have to pay for a call to get their freebie.. if every call it misses on is instantly free, i am sure some drunken frat boys would be calling all night farting into the phone just to giggle at the results. or maybe not.

      • If it can't guess the song, then your next call is free.

        In a related announcement, AT&T today announced their new Your Next Call is Free promotion.

    • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:46PM (#8875966) Homepage
      As some others have said, this technology has been around for a while now. Shazam [shazam.com] were (iirc) the first to offer it in the UK. They charge 59p or about the same 99 cents. The Shazam service was covered in Scientific American [sciam.com] in June 2003 and has been mentioned on /. [google.co.uk] a few times in the last year.
    • by amembleton ( 411990 ) <aembleton@bigOPENBSDfoot.com minus bsd> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:59PM (#8876075) Homepage
      I've done extensive development work in the area of audio watermarking and audio fingerprinting, and I'm amazed that AT&T can make this happen, given the reduced fidelity of a wireless phone connection.

      Then prepare to be amazed!

      I've been using the same tech here in the UK for the past year and it really does work. Most of the stuff I listen to is not chart stuff, I didn't believe it would be all that good but, yes it really is.

      When you'd kill for the name of the song and your mates don't know it, then its great to just dial 2580 and direct your phone's mic towards the nearest speaker. Shazam [shazam.com] then sends you a text of the name of the song and you can access a list of all your songs on the Shazam website. It costs 59p here which is ~99c.

      For those suggesting that you should be able to get a song with your purchase; Shazam let you get a ringtone (mono or polyphonic) just after you get the name of the track. I haven't used this yet so can't commment on it.

      As for its accuracy I've only once had a problem with it and that was because I was in a club with very bad audio and decided to basically 'test' Shazam out. There was a part of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Sprirt that didn't sound anything like it should - just a lot of high pitch noise. Shazam couldn't work it out, so I got my next song name or 'tag' for just 9p.

      You will be suprised by this service.

    • Best part (Score:2, Insightful)

      by empaler ( 130732 )
      Wanna bet they're making the record companies pay as well?
  • Radio? (Score:2, Funny)

    by ryanr ( 30917 ) *
    I would be using it to find out what that killer "track 3.mp3" I have is.

    I would have made the number to call #ID3.

    Sounds like pretty slick technology.
    • I'd pay for software that could listen to music, tell me if I have it on MP3 or WAV or AAC or whatever (never mind that it was on a cd burned from this computer), and tell me where on my many hard drive partitions it was squirreled away!

      Seriously, 200 GB with 10 partitions is more than enough rope to hang yourself.
  • mwahaha (Score:3, Funny)

    by Aggrazel ( 13616 ) <aggrazel@gmail.com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:23PM (#8875689) Journal
    Turn this on next to will hung and watch a phone kill itself.
  • by Anonymous Coward


  • Hello, ClearChannel? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:23PM (#8875692)
    You know, it used to be the responsibility of the DJ to make sure listeners knew the name and artist of the tracks they played. They didn't have to say it every song, but they should do so before or after any new song that might not be familiar to the listeners yet.

    Of course, that was before Clear Channel laid all the local DJs off in most markets. Now, the same network DJ banter can be heard before different songs in some cases...
    • Also before Clear Channel put every popular song into every rotation on every station in the northern hemisphere at 15-minute intervals.

      If it's the Next Big Thing(tm), you'll probably hear it enough times to memorize the lyrics before they ever get around to identifying the artist.

      The Dalai Llama
      ...hit me baby, one more time...hit me baby, one more time...hit me baby, one more time....

    • I will give Clear Channel one point. All of their stations here in seattle seem to use RDBS to tell the station call letters, the current artist and song, and what comes up next. Very often they flash the weather during commercials. I don't know how many people have radios that support it, but I quite like it. If only KEXP would support it.
    • You mean ClearChannel is actually playing songs you haven't already heard 10,000 times?
    • You know, it used to be the responsibility of the DJ to make sure listeners knew the name and artist of the tracks they played. They didn't have to say it every song, but they should do so before or after any new song that might not be familiar to the listeners yet.

      Announcing (particularly back-announcing, where they tell you what you just heard) is something that, quite often, costs the promoters more money - the station (or network) does it when the promoters pay to make sure it's done, to aid in the m
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:23PM (#8875693)
    Now you can finally figure out the name of that song on the radio that you've been dying to know!
    The radio in my car (a 2000 model) has a little button labeled "Info." If I press it, on many stations the name of the song will scroll across the display. This is just the factory standard Chevy radio that came with the car. I don't need my cellphone for this, you insensitive clod!
    • Assuming you arent using DAB (which I doubt it as america is always 5 years behind europe on everything like this, hell you've only just discovered text messages, and PAYG isn't exactly hot over there, and you actually pay to *receive* phone calls) you're talking about RDS, it's not used by many stations in the UK, except for broadcasting the station name, and switching stations looking for traffic reports. There's capability to do a lot more though, including only selecting stations of a certain genre.

  • Google is my savior (Score:5, Informative)

    by talaper ( 529106 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:24PM (#8875700)
    whenever I want to find out the name of a song that I heard on the radio, I just go to google and type in a lyric or 2 that I remember, and the word 'lyrics'.

    it hasn't failed me yet!
    • This is an amazing technique and has served me well hundreds of times. Just remember to put the lyric quote on speech marks and then lyrics outside of it. Put any other distinct words outside of the speech marks as well (not things like the, and etc). If you can't find it then remove the speech marks and remove common words until it is very distinct. Good luck, and it is free too!!
    • That works pretty well, of course


      unless you also have a liking for the finer shades of techno


      and you can forget about humming the tune in the record store :)


      "It goes a little like this Boom DaDaDa Boom, Boom DaDaDa Boom, Boom DaDaDa Boom, Boom DaDaDa BoomBoom"

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:24PM (#8875705) Homepage Journal
    having been in use here some time ago, maybe a year ago, or two?

    can any other Finnish people confirm?

    I thought it to be just a cool gimmick, not something that real people would use.

    • an any other Finnish people confirm?

      Funny; I was thinking of testing it out with some Finnish folks songs that I've heard but don't have names for. And some Bulgarian, Nigerian, Peruvian, and Chinese songs, for that matter. Also, I probably wouldn't be playing a radio for them; I'd be playing my fiddle or flute or accordion or Yamaha keyboard or some such, because I don't have recordings of them.

      Think this would work?

      I wasn't too impressed by their tests. They failed to identify Beethoven's Moonligh
  • ...AT&T's legal department coming to your assistance when you're sued for "rebroadcasting" the song into the cell network?
  • that can hear the song I can barely remember that is rattling around inside my head (but without enough of it left for me to legitimately even attempt humming/singing it), why even bother?


    • Whats that song about a guy sitting in a dinner named EAT when a little green man walk in and offers him a pill or cig. or something? I've been trying to think of it all day.

      It goes like this. dah, dah, dah, dah...

  • The Last DJ. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:27PM (#8875761) Journal
    As we celebrate mediocrity all the boys upstairs want to see

    How much you'll pay for what you used to get for free

    And there goes the last DJ

    Who plays what he wants to play

    And says what he wants to say

    Hey, hey, hey

    And there goes your freedom of choice

    There goes the last human voice

    And there goes the last DJ

    Tom Petty
  • by hoofie ( 201045 ) <[moc.mikdnaemearg] [ta] [emearg]> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:29PM (#8875783)
    Its called Shazam [shazam.com] and its been available for at least a year now. From what I've tried of the service, it works quite well.

    Cost is 59pence per call (which must be about 35 cents or something in US of A money).
  • by aberant ( 631526 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:30PM (#8875795) Homepage Journal
    Obviously this has to cater to the top 40 kinda crap that's be marketed as actual music to everyone today. what would really impress is being able to hold it up to some obscure jazz/electronic album and having the phone identify it. if you listen to any top 40 station for an hour, you can just as easily identify one of these songs as this phone can
  • ...AT&T can arrange for any copyright violations to be reported directly to the RIAA, including full details of your name and address.

  • Radio program directors would absolutely love to see a database consisting of records of what his competitors are playing. They could then sort and analyse that data by parts of the day and such, and realize what songs and artists his competitors are playing in heavy rotation.

    He then could either duplicate that in his selections to move his station closer in format to the competitor, or intentionally avoid those selections to make it appear he has a wider variety of music on his station.

    The data's out the
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:31PM (#8875811) Homepage Journal

    This probably uses existing R & D from voice identification technology they developed for the US govt. For instance, Pablo Escobar was captured after he made a phone call. He didn't call a traced number or from a traced number. His
    voice simply popped up [newsmax.com] on the phone lines. Bam! They identified his voice and captured him. And that was more than 10 years ago. Obviously, this is an example of how this technology has improved.
  • You can type a phrase or two from the lyrics into the amazing Google [google.com] Intarweb Music Identification Service (it looks deceptively like the main Google page). I've had pretty good results that way.

    Or you could use the Ask-Your-Music-Geek-Friend identification service, which is generally provided free of charge by your music-geek friends.

    Sounds like another nifty-but-useless service that is probably laying the groundwork for something truly beneficial that is soon to come. Help for those with hearing or sp

  • Radio "RDS" Service (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rkane ( 465411 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:33PM (#8875840) Homepage Journal
    The radio data system that is in a large chunk of new stereo's should make this service fairly ineffective. Most major radio stations now broadcast the song title and artist along with the music, and many new stereo's can do this. Why pay a buck for each song when you can buy a decent stereo and get the same thing for EVERY song. An example of a stereo with RDS can be found here [crutchfield.com]. Not to mention satellite radio. If you look up a song every few days, you'd be able to pay your satellite radio bill instead.
    • IF everyradio station used the RDS system. Here in Chicago I can name 2 (two) stations that broadcast the artist and song title. And another 2 that use the RDS to identify the station. Thats in the chicago radio market.
  • by El_Smack ( 267329 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:34PM (#8875847)
    [Digital Operator type voice]
    I'm sorry, the song you are trying to ID is by... Brittany ... Spears. Please hang up, and listen to something good.
    [/Digital Operator type voice]
  • but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ambienceman ( 721763 ) <crazywolfeyes@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:34PM (#8875853) Homepage

    AT&T still sucks...

    I'd like to see when they introduce the new feature that allows me to actually make a call...and maybe a new feature that allows me to promptly speak with a customer rep.
    • Re:but... (Score:4, Funny)

      by fo0bar ( 261207 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @07:18PM (#8876268)
      I'd like to see when they introduce the new feature that allows me to actually make a call...

      I'm not sure what you mean... My "outdated" AT&T TDMA phone is great. All of the other providers and technologies have phased out making calls, while introducing "features" such as surround sound ringtones, stamp-sized streaming pornography, camera, and The Mobile ARPAnet(TM).

      Call me old fashioned, but I like the antiquated style of punching in a phone number, taking into a microphone, and listening for a response.

    • Huh? I've used my AT&T phone all over the country, including in the grand canyon and on Mt Whitney, never once had a problem, in fact I've never even had a dropped call with AT&T which is a heck of a lot more then I can say for Verizon or Cingular. With the ability to fall back to the nations best AMPS network you are basically assured of getting a singal, then again maybe your phone doesn't have AMPS support?
  • I can't imagine paying for this service. Is it doing well in Europe?
  • Run linux?... well not really, but the neuros does and HiSi for the neuros [neurosaudio.com] is free and allows you to record a 30 second clip (line-in/built in mic/FM radio) and then on synchronizing it goes out to the web and analyzes each recording and gives a result. As with any audio-fingerprinting it is innacurate, but i would imagine less innacurate than a 24khz+ cellphone connection.
    • Yes it does. Unfortunately the HiSi function for the Neuros is only supported under Windows, so I haven't tried it out. (Yup, staunch Linux/OGG person here.)

      Still, posts on the Neuros forums (like this one [neurosaudio.com]) suggest that the feature works rather well. So you get unlimited uses of the ID feature for a $200 player--if you think you'll want to identify 200 songs over the course of a couple of years, that's like getting the Neuros player for free. Good deal.

  • You can try and figure out your cell phone company's new name!

    AT&T Cingular?
    Cingular Wireless?

    Or more likely, given that Cingular bought AWS...

    Cingular's bitch
  • If you have teenagers, have this service BLOCKED.
  • by hardaker ( 32597 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:44PM (#8875954) Homepage
    so I wonder what it'll tell me about my rendition of "rubber ducky" while I take a shower?
    it'd probably come back with "don't quit your day job" by "at&t".
  • by good-n-nappy ( 412814 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:47PM (#8875986) Homepage
    The only real use for this is to win those contests on the radio where they play a 2 second snippet from a song and you have to guess what song it is.

    I have to say though, that I pity anyway who actually participates in these contests.
  • Just about any form of digital music service is going to have a digital readout. It will tell you what the hell is playing. Analog radio is a touch diffrent, near as I'm aware there isn't really any form of track ID system.

    While I'm all for a comercial application for researching audio recognition, this form of service would not be nessicary if songs were either watermarked or had some form of ID tag associated with them, and radios had some form of decoder and display. Even an old /. favorite "Digital
  • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:49PM (#8876003) Homepage Journal
    Interesting service, but how well will it work with independent, non-mainstream artists?

    Susan Gibson [susansongs.com] wrote and originally recorded the song "Wide Open Spaces" It became a hit for the Dixie Chicks [dixie-chicks.com]. What happens if I put the phone to the radio while a station that knows the difference [khyi.com] is playing the original version?

    Would an artist like Slaid Cleaves [slaid.com] or Mark David Manders [markdavidmanders.com], which you won't hear on your local corporate country channel, even be identified?

    I suspect the music library won't be broad enough to support the people who actually care about the music enough to use the service.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1) Remember a few words of the lyrics.

    2) Get song title by searing for above lyrics on Google, add "lyrics" to end of search string.

    3) Load iTunes to sample song and check other songs by Artist.

    4) Download song on favorite P2P network (see www.zeropaid.com for many).

  • I'm a tech, and I know that with most stuff on slashdot I can see how it works and how it would be implemented, but I can't see how with this.

    If this was April 1st I would understand.

    The article has been slashdotted so I can't read it - is there a tech article on the database or the technology behind this acheivement somewhere? A database which contains portions of every song would be fairly incredible, not to mention the fact that it is recognizing songs over a crackly phone line. Perhaps it is recog
  • by rokzy ( 687636 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @06:59PM (#8876081)
    >Now you can finally figure out the name of that song on the radio that you've been dying to know!

    er, been doing that for years in UK with Shazzam Song Recognition thank you.
  • by ism ( 180693 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @07:01PM (#8876092)
    I just figure they'd outsource it to India and have Indians ID the songs. Just have each Indian listen to one genre of music, weighted by popularity and likelyhood to come up. You can probably attach 3 people to each ID session -- pop/rock, country, and hip-hop and if they can't ID it, pass it on to the next tier of IDers. It would probably still be cheaper than audio fingerprinting, considering how distorted the music must be.
  • The name of the song is "Pick up the Pieces". There, I just saved you a call.
  • Cellular add-ons (Score:2, Interesting)

    by huie ( 148646 )
    It's stuff like this (value added services?), Cingular's comics [infosyncworld.com] and instant messaging that are turning cell phones into more than just a handset you talk into.

    I like it, but I fear that it'll get to the point where it's too hard to figure out how to access a given extra feature. Obviously they'll have to work on the UI to select from all these (marginally) useful features.

    That said, I'm still just using my phone as a phone, so maybe they already have that solved, but I wouldn't know.
  • Missing something (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Paladin144 ( 676391 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @07:25PM (#8876333) Homepage
    I think many of you are missing something, but it's also possible that you don't listen to a lot of obscure music. Sure, I listen to all the latest rock music, but I also like to listen to our local classical music channel here in MN, 99.5 FM.

    I love classical, but it's a real bitch figuring out the song names. Hell, most of the time it's something like: "Concerto No. 432, Op. 5341: Andante con margarine" or something equally lame. If this service could help me out with that, it would be worth a buck to me.

    I've listened to brilliant classical works, and then the announcer comes on and says (in his heavily-tranquilized drawl) a bunch of words I've never freaking heard before. No doubt it's the name of some obscure foreign composer and the foreign conductor and the foreign symphony that played the tune, which has a name derived from latin. Great. That fucking helps me a bunch.

    Oh, and that's another thing; the songs can go on forever. If he plays 3 or 4 movements it can easily be a half hour. Don't get me wrong; I love the station (no commercials!), and I love classical music, but can this service really tell the difference between Handel and Mozart? And for that matter, can it tell me which movement, and who is conducting? Please excuse my skepticism, but I seriously fucking doubt it. The idea is great, and it's useful to me since my tastes range from pop to ultra-obscure, but does it work?

  • If P. Diddy keeps ripping off every artist under the sun without changing the beats at all, AT&T won't know what to do! :) I can't imagine this service will work very well if you feed it one of this songs...
  • If you have an internet connection, by far the easiest way to identify a song is to google one of the lyrics, example:
    And when I touch you..." [google.com]
  • A friend of mine was working on the Music Analysis Toolkit (MAT) [sourceforge.net] while he was still thinking of pursuing his Ph.D. in Computer Science. The toolkit does just this kind of music recognition stuff, and he was working a lot with the psychoacoustic model [rice.edu] and using LAME [mp3dev.org] to filter out inaudible stuff. It's been a while since I've talked with him about it, but it's definately interesting.

    I'd be willing to bet this is based on lots of the same stuff.
  • Fails (Score:3, Funny)

    by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @07:37PM (#8876434)
    Every time I try to ID this one song, it fails.

    I can remember what its called, just that its by a guy named John Cage - and is about 4 and a half minutes long...
  • by cjpez ( 148000 )
    Way cool! Of course, you could always, say, wait for the DJ to just tell you what the song was. Or, if they don't announce songs, they're probably on one of the bigger stations, so they've probably got "currently playing" lists on the web. Or, you know, a lot of stations have IM/email set up...

    Still, fun technology. What would be more useful is a service that could listen to you hum or whistle tunelessly for a minute or two and figure out the song title from that.

  • Just this morning, I was listening to good radio (a college station as the commercial stations play total crap now) and I heard a really well done cover of a Smiths song. It came from an obscure Smiths cover CD and was performed by a band that only has one listing on IMDB. I think you'd be hard pressed (no pun intended) to use this service to find out what song that was. More than likely it will only recognize the hottest "hits" by the latest "artists". So... that means it will succeed with the target d
  • by bishiraver ( 707931 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @07:57PM (#8876580) Homepage
    has had this functionality since it comes out. You can press a button on it, and it will record a 30 second clip from the radio, line in, or mic. The next time you sync with your organization utility on your PC, it copies the 30 second clip over and uses a technology like this to identify the clip. It works pretty well, too.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson