Shazam Music Search Alternative For Linux

Shazam Music Search Alternative For Linux

Growing up in a time of vinyl records and 8-track cassettes, it’s safe to say that I have an appreciation for music. Flash forward to today and we’re now able to enjoy any song we want, on demand! With music services provided by Amazon and independent sources, legally downloading music has never been so easy.

These days, most of my music is set up on my Android smart phone. And should a song that I don’t recognize end up being blasted on my car’s radio, I can rely on the Shazam app to help me determine the song’s name and artist.

But what about when you’re sitting in front of your Linux box, hammering away in your terminal? The boss is nearby and opening up a browser window to search for a possible song match isn’t practical. What then? I recommend installing and running an app called instantmusic.

True to its name, instantmusic provides you with the ability to determine the name of a song/artist simply by providing some clues about the song. Installing instantmusic is simple enough. Just install it from your distro’s repository. Distros such as Arch (AUR) and Ubuntu will have immediate access for easy installation.

Correction: I installed this sometime ago, I forgot I used pip to install it. Install pip from your local repository, then use these commands to install the app. You’ll need to run python –version to determine which version of Python you’re using.

Python 2.7

sudo  pip install instantmusic


Python 3.4

sudo pip3 install instantmusic


Okay, now that you have it installed I want to share the two basic functions this software provides.

1) It’ll help you to determine the name of a song and the band that sings it.

2) It allows you to download the music from YouTube. Now, due to copyright laws in most countries, I’d recommend sticking to legal to download music for this last part. Creative Commons and public domain songs both are fine.


Open up a terminal window and type the following:


You’ll then be presented with something like this:
Enter songname/ lyrics/ artist.. or whatever


For demonstration purposes, type the following.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery


These are the lyrics to a song you’ve heard somewhere, but you don’t know who sings it or the name of the song. Okay, hit enter.
Making a Query Request!
Found: Bob Marley - Redemption Song<
Download song (y/n)?

Because there is a copyright for this song in place, I’d simply choose n and then buy the song from Amazon or another music store online.

Let’s try another:

ironman ac dc

Making a Query Request!
Found: Iron Man: AC\DC - Thunderstruck (Music Video)
Download song (y/n)?

In this case, I know who the band is. But I may have forgotten the name of the song, only remembering hearing the song in the Iron Man movie.

Now sometimes you may run into an instance where the song has been played by multiple musicians. For example:


Enter songname/ lyrics/ artist.. or whatever >

mamma told me when I was young

Making a Query Request!
Found: shinedown simple man lyrics
Download song (y/n)?


In this case, that isn’t the original version of the song. Since I was looking for the original, I’ll try this instead.


Enter songname/ lyrics/ artist.. or whatever >

mamma told me when I was young original

Making a Query Request!
Found: Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Lyrics HD
Download song (y/n)?


This time I have the original song, played by the correct band. This is useful when you want the original version of a song but don’t know who sings it.

Now let’s download a song (a legal one – copy left):


Enter songname/ lyrics/ artist.. or whatever >

Making Me Nervous

Making a Query Request!
Found: Brad Sucks - Making Me Nervous (I Don't Know What I'm Doing) [Lyrics]
Download song (y/n)? y


So basically what happened is instantmusic went out to YouTube, grabbed a copy of the song, then converted it to mp3 for your listening enjoyment.

And that’s it! Go ahead and give it a whirl. I’ve used this app countless times when a song gets in my head and for the life of me, I can’t remember who sings it.

Matt Hartley
Freedom Penguin’s founder & talking head – Matt has over a decade working with Linux desktops, his operating system experience consists of both Windows and Linux operating platforms. In addition to writing articles on Linux and open source technology for and, Matt also once served as a co-host for a popular Linux-centric podcast.

Matt has written about various software titles, such as Moodle, Joomla, WordPress, openCRX, Alfresco, Liferay and more. He also has additional Linux experience working with Debian based distributions, openSUSE, CentOS, and Arch Linux.

8 thoughts on “Shazam Music Search Alternative For Linux”

      • CLI is not “stupid easy to use” no matter how you paint it. Number one reason keeping ordinary people away from Linux, in fact.

        However, if your post was meant for developers or sysadmins (or maybe frantic geeks), it’s okay. No one else is “hammering away in [their] terminal”.

        I wish Linux blogs made clear who they are addressing when writing articles.

        • I hear what you’re saying. Bear in mind however, I never said the CLI as a whole was easy to use, I said the app was easy to use and it is. I typed my previous statement on a smart phone and should have clarified better.

          Yes, there are some tasks with the CLI that are in my opinion better suited to GUI interfaces.

          Let’s take a closer look at how this app works.

          Once installed (covered above).

          Type command instantmusic

          It then tells you when to type to search for something, even explaining some examples.

          Then it asks you if you’d like to download.

          That….is literally the bulk of its usage. If that is difficult, then I’m missing something. 🙂

          Again, I’m sorry the guy who developed it chose not to develop a gtk or Qt GUI for it. I think that it would be a nice addition for those who want it.

          I would agree that sys-admin tools used in the CLI are not for casual folks….but this isn’t one of them by a long shot. I’m very aware of how intimidating CLI apps can be and how often they are colored as “hard” because of past experiences with other apps. Not all alls in the CLI require tons of typing or remembering how to use them.

          Hopefully this better explains my position on the matter.

        • Also, I value your feedback. If you feel I need to tag this as a CLI app, I’d be happy to do so. I do not wish to alienate anyone. Hit me up on my contact form with a bullet point list of things you’d like to see included in articles like this (that I write) and I’d be happy to make sure they’re included. I’m completely serious — if folks are feeling left out, this needs to be addressed.

  1. Even works to some extent for finding those Anime theme songs. The funny part is to see how it handles the Kanji in the video titles (for example, look at “irregular at magic high school opening”). Sometimes you have to do a search for the series title (such as “kill la kill ending”) to find the song title, then search for that (presuming it has been written in romaji).
    The trick then is finding proper versions of the artist’s album to buy in the US. ITunes is definitely lacking there, and Amazon is often not much better.

Leave a Comment