When I was a lad, Saturday afternoons weren't complete without a visit to Our Price or HMV to peruse the latest records. These Goliaths of the high street may be disappearing in physical form, but just as vinyl gave way to CD which begat the digital download, the HMV name lives on in the form of an online music store which can be accessed via this app: HMV Music. See Best iPhone apps.
There are, of course, many online music stores. Differentiation is a problem in this space. But the HMV app offers something a little different: like Shazam you can play music to this app and it will recognise the record and the artist. You can also sing your version of a song, and it should recognise it. Then you can buy the track - which is a neat idea.
It's a neat idea but not one entirely borne out in the usage - on iPhone at least. HMV Music is an app for Android and iOS, but it's really worth considering only for the former. That's because true-to-form Apple won't allow any music store other than iTunes into its walled garden, so if you use an iPhone or iPad HMV Music is useful for reference only. See Best iPhone apps.
HTV Music: audio recognition
The audio recognition works okay though. On neither iPhone nor Android phone could be fool HMV Music when playing it records from a variety of acts ranging from The Beatles through The Black Keys, to the Arctic Monkeys. Marginally less heard artists such as Dusty Springfield, Big Boi and Explosions In The Sky weren't recognised. We presume this is because they aren't in the HMV catalogue - when we played Help! by The Beatles it was immediately recognised, but we were then offered the chance to buy a cover version of the song by an un-known band. No thanks.
We had some fun with singing our own versions of famous songs, and found that it worked on occasions (on occasions when there was no ambient noise and we were feeling particularly tuneful). I'm not sure I will ever use this function, you may lead a more aurally adventurous life than me.
The other way by which you can use HMV Music is to recognise music via artwork. Again, a neat idea. It may be that we are doing something wrong, however, but we couldn't get it to recognise any of the album covers we showed it. Even when the app had previously recognised the music.
Music track pricing is fairly standard - around 99p for individual tracks, and £8.99 for albums. All music is DRM free, too.