When I was in eighth or ninth grade, a friend called me one day with a clever scheme. “We should make a website where you can sing part of a melody, and it figures out what song you want!” I told him it sounded like a cool idea, but also a totally impossible one, and went back to watching TRL. For this reason and several others, I am currently a pop-culture blogger of modest means and not, say, a yachting enthusiast-cum-Internet startup king — because, you see, there’s a new website that does exactly what my friend was describing. Midomi.com bills itself as “the ultimate music search tool.” Give it a 10-second snippet of music in your own voice — singing, humming, or whistling will do — and it’ll instantly tell you what that song you have stuck in your head is. Imagine if Jason Castro (pictured) had had access to this thing. He might have realized in time that he was on national television singing “Mr. Tambourine Man,” not “Mr. Hm-hm-hnh-hm-um-aaahlowin’ you“!
Of course, that’s all assuming it actually works as advertised. I don’t have a microphone hooked up to my computer, so I haven’t been able to test-drive Midomi. (Man, if I were a yachting dotcommer, I would so have a mic right now.) The site’s demo video makes it look pretty intuitive — but the nice lady in the tutorial is just looking for “Amazing Grace,” which I can’t imagine anyone actually needing a powerful online engine to track down. If I’m understanding this right, user-submitted sound files provide most of Midomi’s core data. Does that model have any value if you’re trying to identify a song that isn’t already totally unforgettable for billions of people? Feel free to try out some of your favorite, more obscure tunes on Midomi and report back in the comments here — I’m curious to know if this is just a fun gimmick or a legitimately useful tool.