Using Google Voice Search to Find Audio Samples in Songs: A Guide for Audiophiles

Even samples that have been ‘chopped and screwed’

The power of Google voice search is not just limited to humming into voice search or using the Now Playing feature on Pixel to identify songs playing in a cafe or stuck in one’s head. Sampling, a prevalent technique in hip-hop and other genres heavy on post-production, involves using snippets of recordings as tablesetters to new beats, homages to idols and even as adversarial callouts. Google’s voice search is helping listeners identify the source of these samples. Devotees have been using tools like Shazam and SoundHound for a long time, but Google’s superior machine learning and search engine capabilities have trumped them all.

TrackLib, a sampling database and clearance house, recently chronicled the story of the ‘Sample Hunting’ community on Discord, which has been using Google voice search to identify samples with an impressive degree of accuracy. One of the server founders, lobelia, was astonished to find that Google Assistant recognized “South City Midnight Lady” by The Doobie Brothers as a guitar sample in [Daft Punk’s] ‘Face to Face’ in late 2021. DJPizza, another server member, used Android on PC to feed clips directly to Google voice search, which was able to detect samples less than a second long and distinguish even the ones that have been chopped or time-stretched.

Google’s massive audio data, coupled with its powerful machine-powered fingerprinting tools, has enabled it to help users identify songs or enforce digital media rights on YouTube, immediately after an upload is ingested. The company has forged licensing relationships with publishers, making sample discovery an integral part of its operation. However, it is indeed amazing to see how listeners are finding new ways to connect with their favorite artists and music.

Thanks: Armando