Shazam had boots on the ground in Nashville this week (2/21). They participated in CRS, and were busy meeting some of Nashville’s key music industry players. Shazam VP Strategic Initiatives, David DeBusk—no stranger to Music City—was nice enough to steer Nick Fishbaugh, Director of Music Partnerships and Barry O’Connell, VP Sales Development Music & TV to the NEKST.biz conference room where we had a lively meeting and managed to capture some of the excitement on our digital recorder.
Shazam has over 420 million users worldwide and recently announced a dramatic label partnership with Warner Music Group to find and develop new music. Mike Caren, President, Worldwide A&R, WMG, said in a prepared statement, “Millions of fans use the Shazam app to discover music, so when a song debuts strongly on the Shazam chart it is an exciting, early indication that it has hit potential.”
For those that haven’t yet downloaded its app, when a user shazams a song or TV show, they are able to identify, explore, purchase and share that content. As discussed below, Shazam has had some recent success with country music and award TV shows. They’ve also announced a new app version with added functionality. Daniel Danker, Chief Product Officer at Shazam explains, “No longer is matching a track the end of a journey, now it’s the easiest way to get the lyrics, see the music video, or discover more through Shazam’s recommendations.”
NEKST: What is the size of Shazam’s footprint?
Barry O’Connell: The scale is amazing. We now have 420 million users and over 88 million monthly active users.
Nick Fishbaugh: We get about 17 million shazams every day which equates into one billion every two months! Right now Shazam is a discovery tool but the hope is that it becomes more of an engagement tool and grows into a destination.
David DeBusk: We also got amazing numbers from our recent partnership with the CMA. About 550k people shazamed during the show and it led to 50k downloads. And that seems to be pretty consistent, somewhere between 7-10% of everyone that shazams makes a purchase.
NEKST: That kind of flies in the face of people saying that country music fans aren’t connected?
Barry O’Connell: Absolutely. We see huge loyalty amongst country music fans. Take the Grammys for example. Three of the top five most purchased tracks that came through Shazam from shazaming the Grammys were country artists—Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves and Hunter Hayes. And two of the top five most shazamed moments were country artists.
Nick Fishbaugh: One of the first conversations Barry and I had when I came on board was how do we better integrate ourselves into the country community. We know country fans love their artists. We have the tools to help artists be more successful and we want to help make that happen. Sometimes people only think of the coasts, hip hop and rock, but we want to focus on Nashville, too.
NEKST: You are starting a label with Warner Music where you will seek to find new talents and develop them. How does new music get into your system so it can be recognized?
David DeBusk: We have relationships and network with a lot of different companies. Many of them give us music early to make sure it is in our system before it gets airplay. For example all the distributors… We also get audio and metadata for commercials from about 95% of everything through a company called ispot.tv. It’s a huge undertaking. But you are right, getting your data to Shazam is important especially for independents wanting to be discovered. There’s also an ingestion link on the site.
NEKST: So new artists are going to have be proactive and make sure their music is in your system. why do you think new talent can be identified based upon shazams?
Nick Fishbaugh: People are pulling out their phones and saying, “I like this, I want this.” It’s true discovery, an important indicator. You hear something and Shazam it. If enough people hear it then you can start to see if the artist has some significance. Unsigned independent artists are putting up stuff every day in places like SoundCloud. And we are ingesting it all.