If you’ve been alive in the last four years — and especially if you’ve owned a smartphone at any point therein — then you’ve most likely heard the word Shazam. You might even be wondering as to whether or not it’s a verb or a noun. The correct answer is that it’s both — the name of the app has cleverly been “verbed” (much like the godfather of all startups, Google) to indicate its use, which has served to make the Palo Alto-based application one of the most ubiquitous contributions to the smartphone market.
Shazam, a service that uses advanced sound recognition technology and a comprehensive database of music to recognize songs and provide the user with details and information about them simply by having the song played into the phone’s microphone. This technology has become incredibly popular, and with a claimed success extending to over 250 million users it’s no surprise that the bold little startup is looking to seriously expand itself.
Its innovative next move is to broaden its reach to include television. The new application updates will allow Shazam to recognize television programs in a startlingly comprehensive way. Simply by holding the phone receiver to the television’s speaker, Shazam is able to recognize the program in most instances. For a truly comprehensive engagement experience, the app also offers users a bevy of other information — Shazam’s users can access information about the show, songs used in the show, cast members, and can also see links related to the show on sites like Twitter or Wikipedia. Taking advantage of the extent of media interconnectivity, Shazam has positioned itself to move beyond a music recognition service and become a tool that will provide its users with a completely and comprehensively integrated media experience.
Of course, all this innovation and aggressive expansion is also geared towards a financial goal. As Businessweek estimates, the advertising market generates around $189 billion per year. That’s a relatively enormous pie, and with its recent movements, Shazam is making it more and more apparent that it would like to start enjoying its very own slice. They have a good shot, too, as the early feedback on Shazam’s newest additions is almost overwhelmingly positive. With the recent improvements and developments, Shazam hopes to expand and comprehensively engage with its current user base in a way that’s pretty unprecedented.
If its plan works, Shazam could wind up as one of the most valuable tools in entertainment engagement, and would likely find its use integrated with other media. Imaging a concert at Madison Square Garden whose experience is augmented by apps like Shazam. With its most recent developments, Shazam is clearly intending to communicate that these types of ideas are not in the far future. With every new step in its improvement process, Shazam hopes to dig itself deeper and deeper into its users’ media experiences, and it’s not doing a very terrible job of this so far at all.