Mac Windows

Identify The Name of That Song with Tunatic

Damien Oh 20-04-2009

identify-song-by-soundHave you ever had that moment where you heard a song and wonder what’s its title and who’s the singer? I have, all the time.


When on the move, whenever I heard a nice song (especially a foreign language song), I will record it down with my iPhone and use Midomi to identify the title of that song. However, when I am on my computer, I will use Tunatic to identify the song title instead.

Tunatic is a free and small software (for Mac and Windows) that anyone can use to identify songs by sound. It is only 500K in size and only take up 440KB of your computer space.

To get Tunatic to work, you have to feed it with song input. The most common (and easiest) way is to use connect your computer to an external microphone and point it to the music source. It may seem dumb and stupid, but it works.

In the event that you do not have an external microphone, some of the ways that you can do include:

  1. plug your sound source directly to your computer, using the line-in method. This is actually the best way as there won’t be any loss in sound quality.
  2. If you are using Mac, many of the later models come with a built in microphone, which means you can use Tunatic instantly.
  3. If you are playing music directly from your computer, you can select “What you hear” (also named “Stereo Mix” or “Mixed Output”)  as input.

When you first open Tunatic, you will find that it occupies only a small fraction of your desktop and little configuration option. In fact, the only option you can configure is to choose the sound input source.


tunatic-identify songs

When you are ready, simply play the sound and feed it in to Tunatic. Click the search button on Tunatic to get it to retrieve the song information from its database.

According to its website, Tunatic supports any genre of music (except classical). Being someone adventurous, I decided to try out different type of music and see if it can detect them correctly.

First I try out the oldies English pop song. No problem for Tunatic.



Next, I try out Jazz music. Once again, it detects the songs fairly quickly.


The next attempt is a Latin salsa song. No sweat.



The last attempt is a popular Chinese song, and it detect the song again. However, due to the language setting in my Windows computer, it is not able to display the Chinese character properly.


For all the songs that I have tried, it brings me satisfactory results. If you happen to find out which genre/language of songs that it can’t support, do let me know.


Once it have successfully detected the song, a small arrow will appear beside the name of the song. Click on this arrow and it will bring you to its website where it will show you the link to buy the song from iTunes, download the song as a ringtone, or to search for its lyrics. Not too bad for a simple software like this.


What it does not do

While Tunatic works great at detecting music, it does not contain any data about the track info and album arts, nor update the meta-tag automatically. If you are searching for meta-tag auto updater software, MakeUseOf does have a great article about this- 4 Easy ways to Fix music tags and organize library The 5 Best iTunes Alternatives for Windows iTunes is bloated and slow. We show you five fantastic iTunes alternatives for Windows that let you play music and manage your iDevice. Read More .

Also, Tunatic does not response well to voice. If you sing or hum into the microphone and wish for Tunatic to find that song for you, you will be disappointed.


This is definitely not a great software that will save thousands of life, but if you are like me, who does not have the habit of managing your songs and have the sudden urge to find out the title of that song, then this will just be the right software for you.

Tunatic is currently available for Windows 2000 or higher and Mac.

If you are aware of any free program tool that can identify songs by sound please share them with everyone in comments.

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  1. Damon
    January 22, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I tried downloading and using the program and agree that the server seems to be down or no longer there.

  2. Jiminie
    January 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    The web site doesn't seem to be up anymore. I've tried several times over the past few days.

  3. Dedwarmo
    October 25, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I don't always want to grab my phone while I'm sitting at my computer. This is a neat alternative. On the other hand it could not identify Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas or Jai Ho by A. R. Rahman.

  4. Mart
    April 21, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Tunatic isn't perfect but it's worth a stab before reaching for the mobile and hitting 2580. Might save you a few pennies at least...

  5. Tabiji
    April 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    If it can give me the names of all songs on this page, I'll kiss your feet.

  6. Tobey
    April 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Have loved and shared Tunatic for years now, initially introduced to me by Martin @ some years ago. Great app, <3 it.

  7. Titanium Pen
    April 21, 2009 at 7:36 am

    What's the Chinese song you mentioned?

    • Damien Oh
      April 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm

      The name of the Chinese song is Tong Hua

  8. Emma
    April 21, 2009 at 1:12 am

    I tested it on a popular song and it worked, but it couldn't identify this:
    Pity, I've been trying to make out the lyrics and never had any luck.

  9. Berk
    April 20, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Seriously - Shazam is way easier than this.

    • Damien Oh
      April 21, 2009 at 12:08 pm

      I am sure not everyone owns an iPhone, blackberry or Android phone. Tunatic works as a PC alternative.

      • Duncan
        May 26, 2009 at 8:36 pm

        Point taken, but I'm not sure everyone owns a PC... or a computer... or even a mobile phone for that matter. Do all mobile phones have the ability to record sound and playback? Tunatic seems a lot of work-- record, transfer/play later, etc.-- when usually what I'm seeking in such situations is immediate, on-the-spot, gratification... meaning the ANSWER.... THEN, not later.

        I recently discovered Shazam and it TOTALLY rocks! It does all the above, plus provides links to song on itunes, youtube, biographies of musicians, history of band, and even lyrics...ALL while the song is usually still playing (under a minute).

        I think it is the most amazing "Wow! That's unbelievable!" app I've yet to find... but am finding it's "old news" of about a year ago amongst folks here in Silicon Valley.

        Slight tangent, but anyone know of other useful apps that fall in the "Wow! That's unbelievable!" category??

        Oh, and it was a FREE app on iTunes.

  10. BDot
    April 20, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    If you have an iPhone, Blackberry or Android phone try Shazam: