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Not to be confused with SoundCloud.
SoundHound Mobile Icon.png
SoundHound Mobile Icon
Developer(s) SoundHound, Inc
Initial release 29 January 2009 (2009-01-29)

SoundHound Inc. is an audio recognition and cognation company primarily known for sound recognition and search technologies.

Founded in 2007 as Midomi[1] from the Melodis Corporation, by Keyvan Mohajer, Majid Emami, and James Hom.

SoundHound Inc. was founded to improve audio recognition software with the goal to increasing reaction accuracy of audio recognition integration in a broader series of technology products. It's feature product is called SoundHound, a music recognition software. In May 2015, SoundHound released a open source audio recognition smart assistant platform called Hound, and an api called Houndify for beta on Android, with open select invite for iOS.

The flagship product, SoundHound (known as Midomi until December 2010) is a mobile music and audio recognition service, which allows users to identify music through a singing or humming search, or by playing a recorded track.



Midomi, renamed SoundHound in 2009 with the launch of version 3.0 of their mobile app, was launched in beta in January 2007 as a website. The technology, dubbed Multimodal Adaptive Recognition System (MARS), considers pitch, tempo variation, speech content and pauses in order to recognise samples.[2] The company behind the site, Melodis Corporation, was started in 2004 by Chief Executive Keyvan Mohajer, a PhD in sound recognition from Stanford.[3] Melodis changed its name to SoundHound Inc. in May 2010.[4]

Early Years[edit]

The company began in 2005, as founder Keyvan Mohajer was studying for his Ph.D. at Stanford and dedicating his studies to voice recognition technology. Mohajer had launched three profitable companies before he graduated from his undergraduate work at the University of Toronto in 2000. After that, he knew he wanted to be a hi-tech entrepreneur, enrolling in Stanford’s graduate electrical engineering department, where he found his passion for voice recognition. Mohajer dedicated his doctoral studies to voice recognition technology, and founded SoundHound two years before he received his Ph.D. in 2007, together with James Hom and Majid Emami in a Stanford dorm room. Mohajer and team quickly picked up steam from the three person dorm room, and landed in a small Silicon Valley office where they quickly added engineers, growing the team to 10 people focused on voice technology and music recognition.[5]

It was at this time that Mohajer chose to put his larger vision of a voice search technology on the backburner, as the market wasn't ready for a voice product at that time. Mohajer instead used the fundamentals of this research to build Midomi for music search recognition. The Midomi product was tangible, leading to funding and the beginnings of the company.[6]

Company Developments[edit]

In 2010, Mohajer hired Katie McMahon, the VP of Business Development at Shazam responsible for international expansion of Shazam and launching it on the iPhone. Under McMahon’s leadership as VP of Marketing and Sales, the Midomi app was rebranded SoundHound, and Melodis became SoundHound Inc. SoundHound become the top paid iPad app on its App Store.[7] SoundHound made the move to uncapping usage and allowing users of their free app to use unlimited searches, while the Paid app became banner-ad free.[8] Other music recognition apps later followed SoundHound’s lead.[9]

In September 2012 SoundHound announced it had over 100 million users globally. The company hired Cheryl Lucanegro, former SVP at Pandora, responsible for creating the market’s first audio ads and Pandora’s overall ad platform, to build and lead the Ad Sales & Solutions team. [10]

SoundHound then become the first music search product in wearables, shipping on the Casio G-Shock in late 2014.[11] Later, SoundHound became the first music recognition service shipping in autos, in a partnership with Hyundai, in the new 2015 Genesis.[12]

In June 2015, SoundHound had over 260 million users globally.[13]

Milestone Moments[edit]

The first version of the app was released in the Apple app store in July 2008.[14] At the launch of Windows Marketplace for Mobile in October 2009, Midomi was one of the apps included in the store[15] and could be purchased for $4.99.[16] It joined the Android app store in June 2010.[17] In January 2013, the Blackberry version of the app was then available in Blackberry World following the announcement and launch of Blackberry 10.[18]

A free version of the app was released in April 2010, with all the functionality of the premium version, while limiting the number of searches to five per month, and adding banner ads.[19] The premium version was renamed SoundHound Infinity.[19] A stripped-down version, focusing on music search through voice, Hound, was released in May 2011.[3]

In January 2011, Apple revealed that SoundHound was the top paid iPad app on its app store.[7] In June 2012, SoundHound Inc. announced that it had 80 million users while releasing version 5.0, with a new design and features that included an in-app player and integration with LiveLyrics®.[20]

in December 2013, SoundHound launched iTunes Radio integration.[21] In September 2013, SoundHound rolled out registration, alllowing their 170 million global users to sync, save, and transfer music search history across multiple devices.[22]

In January 2014, SoundHound and Hyundai Motor Group partnered to embed music search and discovery into select 2014 Hyundai & Kia models.[12] This was also the year that SoundHound launched a second screen GRAMMYs experience to enable viewers to follow along with the performances with the app.[23] By April 2014, SoundHound passed 200 million users.[24] In September 2014, SoundHound was first-to-market within the music category on wearables, shipping pre-installed within the Casio G-SHOCK GBA-400, a bluetooth smart watch.[25]

In January 2015, SoundHound surpassed 250 million users, and in April SoundHound + LiveLyrics® debuted as one of the first apps to be made available for the Apple Watch.[26]

In June 2015, the Hound app was relaunched leveraging SoundHound Inc.'s Speech-to-Meaning technology, and was re-released as an invite only beta for Android, with a new design and functionality spanning over 40 domains, including, but not limited to, music and music recognition. A developer platform, Houndify, was launched alongside the new version of Hound, enabling anyone to Houndify their products or experiences.[27]

SoundHound Features[edit]

SoundHound is a music search engine available on the Apple App Store,[28] Google Play,[29] Windows Phone Store, and on June 5, 2013, was available on the BlackBerry 10 platform.[30] It enables users to identify music recorded through their device's microphone.[31] It is also possible to speak or type the name of the artist, composer, song and piece.[31] SoundHound can recognise tracks from singing, humming, speaking, or typing, as well as from a recording.[32] Sound matching is achieved through the company's 'Sound2Sound' technology, which can match even poorly-hummed performances to professional recordings.[33]

SoundHound has built several strategic partner integrations, to enable purchase of music that users search for, as well as the connection to streaming services to listen to full tracks. After successfully identifying the song, SoundHound returns the lyrics (if any), links to videos on YouTube, links to iTunes or Google Play, connects to Spotify or Rdio enabling users to add the songs directly to playlists, and also provides the ability to launch Pandora Radio.[3]

SoundHound also features new and emerging music content each week in its homepage feed. Using a SoundHound-unique feature called LiveLyrics® displays a song's lyrics in time with the music, if they are available. Double-tapping on those lyrics moves the music to that point in the song. It is also possible for users to play music from their iPhone's iPod library through the app. If lyrics are available for a song, it will show them as it plays.[34]


Hound is a mobile voice interface, downloadable as an app, which gives users the ability to speak naturally and get deep results to what they ask for, such as looking up the weather, placing a phone call, sending a text message, finding a hotel that matches their detailed criteria, navigating to an address, finding their flight status, checking the stock market, searching and playing music, and even playing interactive games.

While older voice services use word and phrase detection to generate search results, Hound combines voice recognition and natural language understanding in real-time to deliver the fastest and most accurate results seen on a mobile voice service to-date. Hound is now in private beta for Android, with a launch on iOS coming soon.

SoundHound Inc. has been in stealth mode with its voice technology research and development over the last decade, building the technology ingredients and a product that solves the challenge of enabling fast and accurate voice search when people speak naturally.

Three specific technology underpinnings have been documented that make Hound unique:

  • Technology that combines speech recognition and natural language understanding simultaneously and in real-time. Traditional approaches perform speech recognition first, then send the result to a search or understanding engine.
  • The ability to handle complex, natural language sentences, including compound criteria, exclusions and negation, enabling users to speak more naturally, and be more detailed and specific, versus speaking in key-word fragments.
  • The ability to scale rapidly through a new developer platform, Houndify.

Hound launched with an arsenal of “domains,” with general web search considered one domain. Others include everyday use-case tasks or searches such as: navigation, local search, weather, stocks, hotels, time zones, geography, news, photo and video search, mortgage calculation, currency conversion, flight status, and many more. is amongst Hound’s launch partners, providing real-time pricing and amenities for hotels around the world when a user Hounds for a hotel, by saying, for example, “show me pet-friendly hotels near the Golden Gate Bridge, with three or more stars under $200, excluding bed and breakfast.”


SoundHound Inc. also introduced Houndify, a developer platform to create a smart, voice-enabled, conversational interface to anything. The Houndify platform enables developers to leverage SoundHound Inc.’s Speech-to-Meaning technology and deploy their experiences across all major platforms.


Melodis secured $7 million in a Series B funding round in October 2008, bringing total funds raised to $12 million. The round was led by TransLink Capital with the participation of JAIC America and Series A investor Global Catalyst Partners.[35]

In 2009, Melodis attracted additional funding from Larry Marcus at Walden Venture Capital, who had previously invested in music startups Pandora and Snocap.[33] The $4 million funding round was led by Walden Venture Capital VII, with the participation of an unnamed device manufacturer.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Search for Music Using Your Voice by Singing or Humming, View Music Videos, Join Fan Clubs, Share with Friends, Be Discovered and Much More For Free! -". Retrieved 2015-06-10. 
  2. ^ "This Web site can name that tune - CNET News". CNET. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  3. ^ a b c Myers, Courtney. "SoundHound's new voice app Hound wants to change the way we search - TNW Apps". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  4. ^ "SoundHound for iPhone channels iTunes, recommends beats - CNET". CNET. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  5. ^ "Stanford Magazine - Article". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  6. ^ Huet, Ellen. "SoundHound Unveils Voice Control Interface A Decade In The Making To Battle Siri, Cortana". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  7. ^ a b "Apple reveals top apps of all time - CNET". CNET. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  8. ^ "SoundHound". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  9. ^ B, Paul (2010-04-27). "SoundHound's Pet Project: A Music Search Engine". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  11. ^ "SoundHound First Music Discovery Service to Be Live on Wearables | Business Wire". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  12. ^ a b "Hyundai and Kia tap SoundHound to help you identify music in your car". Engadget. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  13. ^ "SoundHound Inc. Introduces Hound, Unprecedented Speech Recognition + Natural Language Understanding, and the Houndify Developer Platform | Business Wire". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  14. ^ "Sing for search results with iPhone app - CNET". CNET. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  15. ^ "Windows mobile app store, My Phone service officially opening - CNET". CNET. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  16. ^ "Shazam debuts in Windows Marketplace for Mobile - CNET". CNET. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  17. ^ "New SoundHound names that tune--for free (Android) - CNET". CNET. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  18. ^ "BlackBerry shows off some of its 70,000 new third-party apps, including Skype, Rdio, Kindle, and Whatsapp". The Verge. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  19. ^ a b "Sonic freebie: New, free SoundHound music-ID app for iPhone, iPad - CNET". CNET. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  20. ^ Sawers, Paul. "SoundHound Passes 80m Users & Launches New Mobile Apps". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  21. ^ "SoundHound App Update Adds iTunes Radio Integration for iPad and iPhone Users | PadGadget". Retrieved 2015-06-05.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  22. ^ "SoundHound adds cloud history sync on iOS and Android apps". IntoMobile. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  23. ^ "SoundHound's music search app turns its focus to the Grammys with real-time updates and more". Engadget. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  24. ^ "SoundHound". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  25. ^ "SoundHound First Music Discovery Service to Be Live on Wearables | Business Wire". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  26. ^ "SoundHound + LiveLyrics". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  27. ^ "SoundHound Introduces A Powerful Personal Assistant App". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  28. ^ Jackson, Holly (10 July 2008). "Sing for search results with iPhone app". CNET. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  29. ^ Dolcourt, Jessica (15 June 2010). "New SoundHound names that tune--for free (Android)". CNET. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  30. ^ Dolcourt, Jessica (6 October 2009). "Windows mobile app store, My Phone service officially opening". CNET. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  31. ^ a b Dolcourt, Jessica (3 December 2009). "Midomi 3.0 seeks song lyrics, knows what's hot". CNET. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  32. ^ Dolcourt, Jessica (16 July 2008). "First Look video: Shazam for iPhone". CNET. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  33. ^ a b Needleman, Rafe (28 July 2009). "Midomi music search gets funding and opportunities". CNET. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  34. ^ "SoundHound adds live lyrics feature to iOS apps". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  35. ^ "Search and Sound Recognition Innovator MELODIS and Creator of Midomi Raises $7 Million in Series B Funding" (Press release). Melodis Corporation. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "Melodis, Sound Search Technology and Applications Innovator, Raises $4M Led by Walden Venture Capital and a Strategic Investor" (Press release). Melodis Corporation. 4 August 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 

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