YouTube Music will finally let you look up tracks just by singing into your phone

It took a little while, but YouTube Music is, at long last, giving users the ability to search for songs just by singing a tune into a smartphone’s microphone.

The general YouTube app has had this feature since mid-October 2023, and judging from recently found images on Reddit, the version on YouTube Music functions in the exact same way. In the upper right corner next to the search bar is an audio chart icon. Tapping it activates song search where you then either play, sing, or hum a tune into your device. 

Using the power of artificial intelligence, the app will quickly bring up a track that, according to 9To5Google, matches “the sound to the original recording.” The tool’s accuracy may depend entirely on your karaoke skills. 

Missing details

Because there hasn't an official announcement yet, there are a lot of missing details. For starters, it’s unknown how long you're supposed to sing or hum. The original tool required people to enter a three-second input before it could perform a search. Presumably it will take the same amount of time, but without official word from the platform, it’s hard to say with total confidence.

Online reports claim the update is already available on YouTube Music for iOS. However, 9To5Google states they couldn’t find the feature on either their iPhones or Android devices. Our Android phone didn’t receive the patch either so it’s probably seeing a limited release at the moment. 

We reached out to Google asking if it would like to share official info about YouTube Music’s song search tool alongside a couple of other questions. More specifically, we wanted to know if the feature is rolling out to everyone, or will it require a YouTube Music Premium plan? We will update if we get answers. 

You can't listen to music without a good pair of headphones. For recommendations, check out TechRadar's list of the best wireless headphones for 2024.

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YouTube update will let you search for songs by singing them into your phone

YouTube is releasing a sizable update giving users new ways to search for and manage their content on the platform.

Chief among these changes is the official launch of the search by song tool where you can look up a song just by humming, singing, or playing a tune directly into YouTube. It functions similarly to Shazam where you can point the app on a phone towards a song’s source so it can record it. YouTube's version uses AI tech “to match the [input] to the original recording”. This was first seen back in August when it was still in beta and it appears the final version works in the exact same way. 

You first activate Voice Search on YouTube, then you switch over to the Song recorder where you will proceed to “play, sing, or hum” the tune for about three seconds into your phone’s microphone. From there, “relevant official music content” will show up on the screen. 

Search by song will be exclusive to Android phones “for now” and will begin rolling out “in the next few weeks”. No word on when it’ll arrive on iOS, although we did ask.

Extra controls

The rest of the update is less restrictive as the other features will be more generally available. A lot is being added, so we’re just going to go over the more notable changes like the introduction of the You tab. 

According to the company, this new section combines a user’s account page with their Library tab to create a one-stop shop where people can configure profile settings, find downloads, and previously watched videos. It saves you the hassle of having to hop back and forth between sections.

YouTube's new You Tab

(Image credit: YouTube)

The YouTube player is receiving extra controls too. On mobile, a “Stable Volume” toggle switch is being added to “reduce jarring differences in volume”. This can be pretty helpful for content with bad audio mixing. Next is the lock screen which does exactly as the name suggests – locks a smartphone’s or tablet’s display “to prevent unwanted interruptions.”

Finally, pressing and holding down on the YouTube player instantly bumps the “playback speed to 2x”. Press to 2x, as the feature is called, will be made available on web, mobile devices, and tablets.

Everything you see will be rolling out “gradually to [users] around the world over the coming weeks” so keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives. More is on the way as the company teases it’s bringing “modern design elements to other areas of YouTube, such as the YouTube Kids app.”

If you plan on traveling anytime soon, be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best YouTube proxies for 2023. Not every global region allows access to the platform.

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