The song is irritatingly familiar. You've heard it before, stacks of times. Its name is on the tip of your tongue, but you just can't place it. Hum along a little, maybe that'll help. No? Oh, what is the darn thing called?
Technology should be able to resolve this dilemma. Songs have been available in digital form for many years. Couldn't you identify a tune by matching it to a song stored in an enormous musical database? Alas, it's not that easy. "When I started looking at this question, I was told by all the experts in the field that this was a next-to-impossible task," says Avery Wang, chief scientist at Shazam Entertainment, an English company that specializes in music-recognition software.