Someone ought to put together a service for helping people find the identity of songs that were played on the radio, or heard in certain venues while out wandering about the wide world. It’s often the case that I’m flipping radio stations and hear something I like (particularly on 89.9 FM or 103.1 FM over here in Los Angeles), and I want to find out what it is so that I can download it. Or, who knows, buy the CD. (Rare chance of that. Actually no, because the kinds of things I tend to like are rare and not conducive to over-the-wire procurement, and although I tend not to like mainstream music, I’m definitely open to buying something I very much like. If only I could find out what it is…) While the former station has a website that lists what’s playing at current times, the latter doesn’t, and although the former’s playlist service is hard to find within the site, that doesn’t help me if all I remember are a few words from the song I heard.
Usually what I do when I hear a song I like, therefore, is send a text message to myself (from cell phone to my e-mail address) with the current time or with some words from the song (if there are (intelligible) words, which sometimes in not the case), so that when I get to my computer I’ll check my e-mail and be reminded to try and find the song, either by looking it up based on the exact time and date it was on the air (which should theoretically be possible) or by sites which have posted song lyrics. Most of the time I fail in both endeavours, but at least I tried. And so the tune I heard and which gave me momentary enjoyment is lost to eternity in the sea of songs which exist out there, because there are so many of them…
It would be nice to have an online service whose purpose is to help others identify songs which they’ve heard. Users could log in and post as much information as they had: (1) some lyrics, (2) a musical genre, (3) a radio station where the song was heard, (4) the exact time of day the song was heard, (5) notable characteristics of the song (i.e., miscellaneous notes (no pun intended)), and finally (6) a recorded audio snippet, if available; this could even be a recording of someone humming or singing part of the song.
Upon log-in to the system, a user would have the option to share with the community his or her expertise, by reviewing a set number of queries posted by other users and identifying perhaps one or more songs (s)he user recognized. Going through the entries would be quick and easy, and would perhaps earn the user points for some kind of redemption. Or they would simply be ranking-points serving no other purpose than recognization of that user’s contribution to the community. Much like the “reward” given to prolific reviewers on Amazon.
The system could grow beyond that, but those are the fundamentals. Music is an important force in many people’s lives, and yet so many are trapped in the little boxes of whatever’s popular, or whatever they can describe to their peers. There’s so much more out there than the same Top Forty songs you’ll hear on the radio, and part of encouraging musical appreciation of a more diverse nature is actually being able to identify what you’ve heard that you liked so you can talk about it, or get it and share it, or at the very most fundamental just be able to listen to it again.
I’m going to post my massive text file of unknown songs I’ve noted down something about, next time.
I’d like to program such a system. But if someone gets to it before I do, or if something like this already exists, remember that you read about it here, first.