With the launch of the Pixel 2, Google is introducing a new always-listening feature called “Now Playing” that continually listens for and identifies music playing nearby. The best part about it is that the song’s title and artist information automatically show up on your lockscreen. As we don’t know if this feature will ever come to any other Android devices, there is a way to use an app to replicate most of these always-listening music recognition features…

First and foremost, this technique uses a little-known feature hidden within the Shazam application called “Auto Shazam.” Now, instead of having to take out your phone, launch the app, and ask it to listen for a song, simply following the below instructions will enable Shazam to run all of the time and let you know on your lockscreen when it has identified music.

There are a couple of things to note, starting with the obvious. No, this won’t show you the song’s name and artist on your lockscreen. You will need to open the app to see the songs that it has identified. Second, as this is always running and listening in the background, you will experience some extra battery drain and data usage compared to Google’s offering. Lastly, Auto Shazam does work with the cloud, unlike Google’s which is all done locally.

How to replicate the Pixel 2’s Now Playing feature:

  1. Download Shazam from the Play Store
  2. Launch the Shazam application
  3. Tap and hold down on the Shazam icon in the middle of the display to turn on Auto Shazam
  4. Select Turn on from the pop-up
  5. Grant the application permission to record audio
  6. Now, even when you leave the application or put your phone to sleep, Shazam will be listening for music. There should be an active notification for the application letting you know that the app is listening
  7. Shazam’s active notification will update every time it identifies a song. To see what the song is, though, you will have to enter into the app. It, unfortunately, doesn’t show the song title on your lockscreen
  8. To turn Auto Shazam off, head back into the application, tap on My Shazam in the top left corner, select the gear icon in the top left corner, and toggle Auto Shazam off

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About the Author

Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at justin@jaduino.com. Tips are always welcome.