SoundHound is marrying its music recognition tech with its ever-expanding conversational platform. The Santa Clara firm today announced that SoundHound Music Recognition — its Shazam-like song ID service — is now available to original equipment manufacturers, brands, and partners tapping its Houndify AI solution.
Starting this week, developers using Houndify can request access to SoundHound Music Recognition. If their application is approved, they’ll be able to license music search for use within apps or via voice commands.
SoundHound’s Houndify, which launched in December 2015, is a natural language assistant akin to Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and the Google Assistant. At launch, key features were its ability to simultaneously perform and interpret speech — a process most voice assistants at the time split into two steps — and contextual awareness. You could ask it follow-up questions without having to repeat the original invocation (for example: “Show me hotels in San Francisco for tomorrow staying for two nights that cost between $200 and $300 per night and are pet-friendly and have a gym and a pool.”)
Houndify built on SoundHound’s years of research in song detection and recognition. Keyvan Mohajer, a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford studying speech recognition, founded the company in 2005 and rebranded the SoundHound app’s progenitor, Midomi, in 2009.
The SoundHound app for Android and iOS, for the uninitiated, enables you to discover music, create and add playlists, find artist information, and more. You can play a song just by speaking its title or by humming it, and streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music are natively integrated.
It’s been downloaded more than 310 million times, according to SoundHound.
“SoundHound has been at the forefront of building music recognition technologies for over a decade,” James Hom, cofounder and vice president of products at SoundHound, said. “Now, by enabling access to it through our Houndify platform, we offer our partners a killer feature for their own products and user experience.”
According to SoundHound, more than 60,000 partners — including Motorola, Onkyo, Peugeot, Opel, HTC, Korea Telecom, Transcorp, Sharp, and others — have tapped the Houndify platform to incorporate voice into more than 1,000 devices. The underlying tech powers the conversational interfaces in Hyundai cars, Nvidia’s Drive autonomous vehicle platform, and Bunn coffee makers, to name a few.
In September, SoundHound collaborated with Mercedes-Benz on MBUX, a custom in-car voice platform that lets you perform tasks like switch on the heads-up display, get restaurant recommendations, and pull up sports scores with simple commands. Answers to some questions — about business hours, for example, or directions to a nearby service station — are sourced from “the cloud” and take into account the car’s location; other requests, namely those involving vehicle systems, are processed locally.
And earlier this month, the company announced that it had teamed up with Honda Xcelerator, an incubation program within Honda’s eponymous Honda Innovations lab, to accelerate development of bespoke voice-enabled AI assistants.
In May, SoundHound raised $100 million from Tencent, Hyundai, Orange S.A., and Daimler AG.
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