Song recognition has become an integral part of our digital lives. With a multitude of platforms offering ‘What is this song‘ features, music identification has become effortless. To fully appreciate this modern technology and its implications, however, it’s essential to delve into its origins, how it works, and its impacts on society, particularly in relation to various music genres around the world, notably – Australian rock music.

The Genesis of Music Identification

The first implementations of automated song recognition technologies surfaced in the 1990s and early 2000s. The pathbreaking acoustic fingerprinting engine Shazam was the first to provide an automated ‘What is this song‘ feature. Launched in 2002, Shazam recognized songs based on their ‘sound fingerprint’, offering exact results even in noisy environments.

How Does ‘What is this song‘ Work?

When you ask your device ‘What is this song?’, it records a small fragment of the audio. This recording is then turned into a digital fingerprint. Algorithms will compare this fingerprint against a massive database of tracks. Within seconds, you’re provided with a match – the name of the song, the artist, and oftentimes the album and year of release.

The Influence of ‘What is this song’ in Our World

By providing a quick and easy route to identify music, ‘What is this song’ platforms have contributed to the global distribution of music, including less mainstream genres and tracks. This empowers more obscure or emerging artists to gain recognition and listeners worldwide.

Impact on Individual Music Genres: A Case Study of Australian rock music

A significant impact of this technology is the democratization of world music, enabling more exposure for genres like Australian rock music. Previously, geographical and cultural barriers could hinder overseas success, but song recognition technology negates these obstacles, allowing for broader distribution and appreciation.

The Australian rock music genre, for instance, has indeed benefitted from the ‘What is this song’ trend. Over the last couple of decades, bands like AC/DC, INXS, and more recently, Tame Impala and 5 Seconds of Summer, have gained global popularity. These bands’ distinctive rock sound mixes traditional rock themes with Australian cultural nuances, which a global audience has proven to appreciate.

With the ‘What is this song’ feature, a listener anywhere in the world who stumbles upon a catchy Australian rock music track can instantly identify the song and artist, leading them down a new musical rabbit hole. This digital age, fuelled by technology and our collective curiosity, has made the world of music, including the distinctive sounds of Australian rock music, more accessible than ever.


The ‘What is this song’ feature is much more than an auditory convenience. It has revolutionized how we interact with music, democratizing the world’s sounds and fostering an environment where a genre like Australian rock music can be enjoyed by someone living on the other side of the globe. In the digital age, music is truly the universal language that bridges cultural divides.