Shazam, mobile's answer to karaoke

2012-01-23 19:11

San Francisco - Can't remember the lyrics to your favourite songs? A new iPhone app might help.

Shazam Player, released last week, is a music player that, in addition to playing songs, shows the lyrics too. The app also provides access to the song's music video, album reviews and artist tour dates.

Shazam is already well-known for its song identification app that uses the smartphone's built-in microphone to gather a sample of a song being played in a room, and then instantly reveals the title and artist name. The service has over 60 million users in the United States and 175 million users globally.

While the core Shazam app is focused on providing a simple and straightforward way to discover new music, the Player app is designed to provide a rich experience for discovering additional information about the music that people already own.

"This is a great way to rediscover that music," explained David Jones, Shazam's executive vice president of marketing, adding that many people have forgotten the details about the music on their smartphones.

When playing a song, lyrics scroll across the screen in sync with the music, and visualisations are tailored to the album being played.

"People are figuring out what the lyrics actually are that may be in some fast moving rap songs or hard-to-hear songs," Jones said.

Lyrics are available for approximately 50 000 songs, with thousands being added weekly prioritised based on song popularity.


According to Jones, Shazam is the largest mobile affiliate for iTunes in the world, selling more than $100m worth of music each year. The Player app is positioned to give people the opportunity to buy more music by the artists they already like.

"I bought two of Adele's songs, but I haven't bought the whole album. So when I play those songs, there's a convenient button there to click off to iTunes to buy the album," Jones said.

Since launching on the App Store, some users have complained about issues with lyrics being out of sync, and other user interface bugs. Jones said the company is working on the issues, and also has a feedback button for user input.

"If you think the lyrics are out of sync or wrong, all you do is press one button and that gets fed back to us and our team jumps on it right away," he said.

Jones said that in addition to focusing on the apps, the company is forging ahead with campaigns that incorporate Shazam with television content.

"In our shows that are shazamable, more people shazam the show than are tweeting about it," Jones said.

With television commercials, users can learn more about brands and products such as accessing product discounts, discovering the closest place to test drive a car, or getting a quote from an insurance company.

"Advertisers are spending tens of millions on their television ad campaigns and these campaigns before Shazam were not clickable," he said.

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