What is SoundHound AI


Founded in 2005, SoundHound Inc. (formerly Keystone) pioneered speech recognition and natural language processing to create an audio search engine. Users could sing or speak queries to identify songs, lyrics, and artists. The technology evolved into a versatile AI platform called Houndify for developers and businesses. SoundHound AI aims to enable conversational interfaces through technologies like speech-to-meaning and Deep Meaning Understanding. The company seeks to humanize interactions between humans and machines.


SoundHound was founded by Keyvan Mohajer and James Hom, researchers who met as graduate students at UC Berkeley. The entrepreneurs sought to develop search technology based on sound rather than text. Inspired by Shazam’s music identification service, which was launched in 2002, SoundHound AI debuted its music search in 2005. The app successfully identified songs based on sung queries or audio clips.

In 2009, the company rebranded from Keystone to SoundHound Inc. and introduced the SoundHound app, bringing voice-enabled music search to iOS and Android. SoundHound AI also incorporated speech recognition for general voice search queries. The app achieved rapid user growth as smartphones proliferated.

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SoundHound AI Mobile App
SoundHound AI Mobile App

In 2012, SoundHound debuted its Houndify voice AI platform, enabling developers to integrate speech recognition and natural language technologies into their apps and devices. SoundHound highlighted Houndify’s capabilities by launching Hound, a digital assistant app with solid music and voice search abilities.

SoundHound went on to integrate its Houndify platform into connected devices like Mercedes cars and personal assistants like French startup Snips. It also launched SoundHound AI for Restaurants, bringing conversational voice AI to restaurant environments. The company continues maturing its voice AI capabilities while expanding the reach of its technologies.

SoundHound AI Voice Technology

At the core of SoundHound AI solutions is its proprietary voice artificial intelligence platform built on over 15 years of R&D. Key components include:

  • Speech Recognition – Advanced neural networks accurately transcribe speech queries into text. Supports over 200 languages and variants.
  • Natural Language Processing – Interprets text meaning within full semantic context using statistical algorithms and deep learning techniques.
  • Conversational Intelligence – Enables intelligent virtual assistants to engage in natural back-and-forth conversations.
  • SoundHound Prediction Engine – Continuously learns linguistic patterns to predict user intentions with increasing accuracy.
  • Houndify Platform – Manages compute resources and enables scalable deployment of SoundHound AI voice services through SDKs and APIs.

These technologies work together to achieve high-precision speech recognition, language understanding, and conversational context modelling. SoundHound AI focuses heavily on optimized speech recognition for music. Its innovations reduce latency and improve accuracy in noisy environments compared to standard speech engines.

Products and Solutions

SoundHound offers products for consumers, developers, and businesses leveraging its voice AI platform:

SoundHound AI App – Flagship music recognition mobile app providing lyrics search, song identification, artist info, and enhanced voice search.

Houndify Platform – Voice AI development platform with speech-to-text, NLP, conversational intelligence, analytics, and other services via SDKs and APIs.

Hound Voice Assistant – A personal voice assistant app with powerful music search and conversational abilities powered by Houndify.

SoundHound for Restaurants: Voice AI ordering system that allows touchless order placement within restaurants and drive-thrus using speech recognition.

Connected Car: Brings conversational voice control to infotainment systems using SoundHound’s built-in automotive speech engine and platform.

Custom Solutions: Fully customized enterprise products integrateSoundHound AI voice into unique environments like smart speakers, robotics systems, offices, etc.

Partnerships: Global partners across the auto, mobile, entertainment, robotics, and hardware industries that integrate Houndify into their products.

SoundHound AI provides businesses and developers access to advanced voice AI for various interactive use cases and touchless interfaces through these products.

Business Strategy

SoundHound’s business strategy focuses on achieving widespread adoption of its voice AI technology across three primary vectors:

  1. Consumer Platform – Attract active users to its apps like SoundHound Music and Hound Assistant to drive natural language data collection and brand awareness.
  2. Developers / Partners – Offer its Houndify platform and customized voice AI to developers, manufacturers, and service providers to build an ecosystem of partners offering enhanced voice interactivity.
  3. Enterprise Solutions – Provide customized products and services that embed Soundhound’s conversational AI into business environments like restaurants, call centres, smart speakers, automobiles, robotics, and more.

This three-pronged approach allows SoundHound to continuously improve its core voice AI through real-world usage while monetizing the technology across consumer, business, and partner channels. SoundHound AI aims to establish its technology as the market-leading conversational AI platform.

Competitive Landscape

SoundHound AI and other advanced voice technology platforms operate in the conversational AI and intelligent assistant technology space. Key competitors include:

  • Amazon Alexa is the leading consumer smart speaker AI.
  • Google Assistant – Pre-loaded on Android phones and smart devices.
  • Apple Siri – Pre-installed on iOS devices.
  • Microsoft Cortana – Voice assistant for Windows devices.
  • Nuance – Established voice recognition technologies.
  • IBM Watson – Pioneer in cognitive computing.

SoundHound differentiates itself through strong speech recognition, music identification capabilities, and conversational context modelling. While consumer assistants like Alexa and Siri have a more fabulous mass market presence, SoundHound AI remains uniquely focused on advancing voice AI innovation and monetizing its technology across verticals.

SoundHound AI Is Growing Fast
SoundHound AI Is Growing Fast
Recent Developments

Here are some recent notable developments at SoundHound:

  • Raised $100 million in Series D funding in 2017 for $216 million in capital.
  • Acquired technologies and talent through the acquisition of Monsido in 2017.
  • Launched SoundHound for Restaurants’ voice AI product in 2018.
  • Unveiled ultra-fast speech recognition engine in 2018, achieving a sub-second turnaround.
  • Formed a strategic partnership with Mercedes-Benz to integrate Houndify conversational AI into new vehicles.
  • Collaborating with Samsung on intelligent voice interactions for mobile and IoT devices.
  • Expanded global team to over 200 employees across six offices internationally.

SoundHound continues investing heavily in R&D to evolve core competencies like Deep Meaning Understanding and optimize technologies like wake word detection—ongoing speed, accuracy, and context-modeling improvements aim to solidify Houndify as an industry leader.

Future Outlook

Voice AI is expected to achieve widespread adoption over the next 3-5 years. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of enterprises will integrate conversational AI within customer engagement platforms. As demand for enhanced voice interactivity and conversational interfaces grows, SoundHound AI is poised to capitalize on its mature platform, developer tools, and customizable enterprise offerings.

Key strategic priorities that position SoundHound for future growth include:

  • Achieving ubiquity by pre-loading its voice AI on devices and integrating it into high-demand environments.
  • Expanding language support to widen accessibility globally.
  • Leveraging advances in machine learning and neural networks to improve capabilities.
  • Building out more third-party integrations and partnerships.
  • Growing targeted industry solutions for automotive, healthcare, retail, and other sectors.
  • Providing a streamlined path for prototypes to production deployments.
  • Enhancing platform analytics to deliver insights to enterprise customers.

With vital existing technology assets and a focused go-to-market strategy, SoundHound appears ready to drive mainstream adoption of its technology and maintain competitiveness as a leading enterprise voice AI platform.

SoundHound’s Technology Evolution

A key component of Soundhound’s success has been its voice AI technology’s continual innovation and enhancement over the past 15+ years. Some significant milestones in the evolution of SoundHound’s technology include:

2005 – Debuted mobile music search app based on novel singing query recognition algorithms. This breakthrough put SoundHound on the map.

2009 – Launched Apple iOS app with voice search features based on an integrated speech recognition engine, expanding capabilities beyond music.

2012 – Introduced Houndify voice AI platform enabling third-party integration of SoundHound technologies through developer tools.

2014 – Announced partnership with French startup Snips to bring Houndify voice AI to Snips’ privacy-focused personal assistant device.

2015 – Unveiled Hound app showcasing Houndify platform abilities through conversational queries, music search, object recognition, flight booking, and more.

2016 – Acquired technologies from machine learning startup Ozlo to enhance natural language processing and knowledge graph capabilities.

2017 – Launched SoundHound for Restaurants, demonstrating the real-world application of voice AI technology for enterprise use cases.

2018 – Achieved real-time speech recognition through optimized algorithms and architecture, with a latency of 300-500ms.

2019 – Partnered with Deutsche Telekom and Mozilla to bring wake word detection offline for improved privacy.

2020 – Added deep-meaning understanding to its platform, allowing more contextual conversational knowledge.

2022 – Announced Speech-to-Intent architected for multi-step conversations and transactions.

This technology evolution has combined foundational research and major paradigm-shifting innovations to usher in an era of advanced conversational interfaces. SoundHound stands poised to continue leading the way.

SoundHound’s Impact on Voice Computing

As a pioneer in voice AI over the past 15+ years, SoundHound has made significant contributions to the evolution of speech and language technologies:

  • It proved the utility of singing/humming as a novel user interface for music search, enhancing human-computer interaction through voice.
  • It demonstrated high-accuracy song recognition algorithms that could handle variations in singing, accents, background noise, etc.
  • Advanced speech recognition research by developing engines optimized for music search queries.
  • First, to introduce conversational voice search features on a mobile app, pioneering natural language interfaces.
  • It developed early voice AI architecture powering third-party integrations of its technology.
  • She brought voice AI into automobile environments through Mercedes, Hyundai, and Honda partnerships.
  • We have introduced advanced context modelling with a deep understanding of meaning to enable multi-turn conversations.
  • We implemented customizable wake words and offline speech recognition for improved user privacy.
  • Architected real-time speech recognition engine to achieve sub-one-second turnaround time at scale.
  • We prototyped voice-based conversational commerce for restaurants and drive-thrus.
  • Forged partnerships across consumer electronics, auto, and enterprise sectors to demonstrate various use cases.
  • It inspired new applications in healthcare, call centres, and robotics by providing enterprise Voice AI solutions.

SoundHound’s pioneering work in voice computing set the stage for the rise of intelligent assistants and the adoption of speech interfaces. The company’s technology innovations and accessible tools empowered developers and businesses to integrate conversational interactions. SoundHound’s contributions fundamentally expanded the boundaries of human-computer interaction through voice.


In conclusion, SoundHound stands out as one of the pioneering companies in the voice artificial intelligence space. After early success with its consumer music search app, SoundHound has evolved into an enterprise-focused technology provider enabling conversational interfaces through advanced speech recognition, natural language processing, and deep meaning understanding capabilities. The company pushes voice AI forward through innovative core algorithms and a scalable cloud-based platform optimized for developers and businesses. As the demand for enhanced human-computer interaction grows, SoundHound is positioned at the forefront, working to humanize how users interact with machines through conversational intelligence.

SoundHound AI
SoundHound AI

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Q: When was SoundHound founded?

A: SoundHound was initially founded in 2005 by Keyvan Mohajer and James Hom as Keytone. It was rebranded as SoundHound Inc. in 2009.

Q: What products does SoundHound offer?

A: SoundHound offers the SoundHound music recognition app, Hound voice assistant app, Houndify development platform, SoundHound for Restaurants, connected car solutions, and customized voice AI products.

Q: What technology is behind SoundHound’s voice AI?

A: Key technologies include speech recognition, natural language processing, conversational intelligence, SoundHound Prediction Engine, and the Houndify platform. These enable advanced voice interactivity.

Q: What industries does SoundHound target?

A: Key industries include consumer mobile apps, automotive, enterprise solutions for restaurants, call centres, robotics, healthcare, and more. Their technology can be customized across sectors.

Q: Who are SoundHound’s main competitors?

A: Major competitors in the voice assistant space include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Nuance, and IBM Watson.

Q: What are some recent developments for SoundHound?

A: Recent developments include new funding, strategic partnerships with Mercedes and Samsung, enhancements to speech recognition speed and accuracy, and expanding global offices.

Q: How has SoundHound innovated in voice AI?

A: SoundHound pioneered singing-based search, music recognition, wake word innovations, real-time speech recognition, conversational commerce, and Deep Meaning Understanding.

Q: What is SoundHound’s future outlook?

A: SoundHound aims to achieve ubiquity for its voice AI through partnerships, achieve human-like conversations via improved natural language processing, and grow customized enterprise solutions.

Q: How many users does SoundHound have?

A: SoundHound has over 300 million global users across its apps. It reaches over 1 billion devices through its integration partners.

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