WiMP and Gracenote Give Listeners Instant Song Recognition

By Kira Grunenberg

WiMP, short for Wireless Music Player, is one of many music services that also happens to have a mobile element, with an attached song identification capability. Started only as recently as 2010, this Norwegian service has tackled and mastered a number of customizable browsing, discovery, and social angles to appeal to music consumers, making it stiff competition to the many other players and ID services out there. Nonetheless, in regards to their song recognition function, one might be inclined to turn to similar, longer existing, and widely received services like Shazam instead (founded in 2002).

According to Shazam’s FAQ, with an identification feature promising that “[w]ithin seconds, you’ll know the artist, track and other interesting info [and that from] the Tag Details you can [also] buy [music], check out the videos, get the lyrics [and] share it with friends,” Shazam does sound comparably impressive. When stacked up against WiMP, the idea of a “better” service to choose may become negligible to non-important, if both can do their claimed duties in a parallel amount of time. Where WiMP separates itself from Shazam and other apps/services like it, is two-fold: songs can be instantly pulled up and listened to after they are recognized and the song identification power is as big as the Gracenote music database; at a massive 130 million+ tracks.

Translated from the newest blog post on WiMP’s website, Fredrik Nyström, the CEO of WiMP in Sweden, explains his optimism on the benefits of instant listening access beyond identification:

The most important task for all of us who work on WiMP is to inspire people to listen to more music, new or old. Sure, there are other apps that can recognize songs, but none that can also play them. The whole point of finding out what a song is called is that you should be able to listen to it again. With this feature in WiMP, I am sure that our users will be able to browse deeper into the daily life music jungle. It will be easier and more fun to discover new songs and artists[.]

WiMP announced its partnership with the California-based company just yesterday in a press release, meant to up the ante on newest the iPhone and iPad versions of WiMP’s services. Quoted from the press release (and also similar to Shazam), WiMP will be identifying songs by matching “unique audio fingerprint[s]” in Gracenote’s database.

Comparison of features between rival services could go on and on. (Technically, Shazam Encore allows for full playback of tagged songs as well but this is accomplished through Spotify, not natively). What makes this partnership so intriguing is the fact that WiMP is not available whatsoever, in the United States. Thus far, only Sweden, Germany, Denmark, and of course Norway, can sign up for a subscription. Therefore, to see Gracenote, the world’s biggest music database, enhance WiMP rather than a music service of American origin is somewhat surprising. At the same time, given the wide feature and hardware flexibility offered by WiMP that extends past the usual Android and iPhone expectations, there might be nothing like supporting some healthy international competition to motivate a higher level of American innovation and music tech evolution.

Below is a quick video showing WiMP’s song ID feature in action:

Kira is an old school music nerd with a love for all things creative; always searching for music’s common ground. She graduated with an M.A. in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. Drop her a tweet @shadowmelody1