Web site names that tune in your head

Social networking tool recognises sung, whistled or hummed tunes

How many times have you had a song stuck in your head but couldn't figure out what it was -- or why it got suck there in the first place?

Well, a new social networking site announced today promises to solve that problem -- in less than 10 seconds in some cases. Melodis , a search and sound recognition technology company, announced midomi.com , a site where you can sing, whistle or hum a tune into your computer microphone and it'll spit back the song title and artist.

The company calls its technology Multimodal Adaptive Recognition System (MARS) Search which features voice-activated music search technology that extracts a variety of features from the tune including speech, pitch, tempo and even the location of pauses. MARS analyzes each element independently and adapts to the stronger components. For instance, MARS Search takes speech content into account if the user sings the five or 30 seconds of a song's lyrics. It can also pick up on a tune if the user hums or whistles the song.

Midomi.com promises not only to track down the song a user is looking for, but it also links to other songs that may match the user's tastes, the company says. Melodis has licensed some 2 million digital tracks to populate the site.

Ultimately the site wants to get people to use the site as a sort of an open-mike night and get users to rate their fellow performers. On the midomi.com singers can create their own profile, sing their favorite songs, share them and get discovered by other midomi users. The site also offers users the opportunity to buy original music and concert tickets the company says.

The company was started in 2005 by a group of Stanford University graduates. It is led by Chief Executive Keyvan Mohajer, who has a Stanford Ph.D. in sound- and speech-recognition.

The site is trying to tap into apparently insatiable public appetite for amateur performance -- ala America Idol -- and the market for music downloads.

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