It used to be the bane of the music lovers life, hearing a song or track and not being able to identify the group or singer. Then along came Shazam and completely transformed that tedious way we used to try and find the specific piece, usually by entering searches into Google, using phrases such as ‘Song played during Coronation ad break for sausages.’
Now the company behind this hugely successful smartphone app is focusing its attention on consumer products, and using the similar technology to allow us to find out where an item of clothing was sold, or let us order a pair of shoes, by just waving our phones over the image.
Don’ get me wrong, there is some fun and dare I say it – pride, in discovering where Fearne Cotton got that fabulous t-shirt dress she was wearing on Celebrity Juice, usually by either begging the TV channel sycophantly – ‘I love watching your programmes and have done so for many years now’, or trawling the fashion bloggers posts the next day, but to be able to just Shazam it now is going to be a godsend.
Shazam’s CEO – Andrew Fisher, thinks that this could be the next best thing: “We have the ability to identify the product in a TV show so that when somebody Shazams it, they could find out where a presenter’s dress is from in one click. We are focused on creating a new category which we call media engagement. We make it easier for consumers to engage with a brand or a piece of content they are interested in, without having to go through search engines, then mining the results. That works with both TV programming and advertising: a 30-second slot can be turned into a three-minute brand engagement – and more.”
The way the music version of Shazam works is that when the user “tags” a piece of music or a TV programme, the Shazam app then takes a fingerprint spectrogram sample of the audio content and will then match it to their huge database. At the moment, it is not possible to recognise an image, but the company are working on image recognition.
Currently the only other information porthole for users is the red button available on digital televisions, but Fisher explains the difference: “When you use the red button, you take over the whole experience for everyone who is watching in the room. With Shazam, individuals can access a cast list, details of the soundtrack, read tweets from the actors, check out the script, buy onscreen product and a whole lot more on their individual mobile devices without disrupting anyone else’s viewing.”
Challenge for Shazam
if Shazam were to design a product based app, there would still be certain commercial regulations that they would have to consider.
“A lot more has to be done to comply with Ofcom,” conceded Fisher. “We are not a broadcaster, but we partner broadcasters, so it has to work.”
And an Ofcom spokesperson agreed, stating although the proposed service was still “hypothetical” in the UK, “all broadcasters must comply with rules on sponsorship and product placement to ensure that audiences are protected”.
Social web consultant Euan Semple said: “The challenge for Shazam is adding enough value for both brands and consumers, without inundating us with annoying stuff at annoying times. Smartphones and tablets are very intimate devices and if we invite a business into ‘our’ space, they have to behave themselves, or we will stop using it.””
“Global brand advertising is worth about a trillion dollars, so anyone who can tap into that is going to be richly rewarded,” said Fisher. “We want Shazam to be that company. There are five billion mobile phones in the world, so we are only at 5% of the market opportunity: that’s a lot of growth and development potential.”
Source: The Guardian