Shazam to enhance social offerings with $32M funding

Shazam and Selena Gomez team for first US Golden T

Music is core to Shazam's DNA

Shazam will use a new round of funding not only to move into television more aggressively, but also to enhance its music offerings and continue the application’s rapid growth among music fans. 

The company, which offers a popular music-discovery mobile application, recently raised $32 million in funds. Shazam will use the funding to support continued growth both organically and through acquisitions, while also developing new features and products such as the recently launched Shazam Friends - which will keep it at the forefront of innovation.

“This funding lets us continue to fan the flames and accelerate the growth,” said David Jones, executive vice president of marketing at Shazam, London. “We will invest in the core music side of the business and add to that Shazam for TV to make TV ads and shows Shazamble.

“This lets us move faster, expand our offering more quickly and develop an even better set of apps around engagement,” he said

The funding round was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), with existing investor DN Capital participating.

Listen to the music
The Shazam app, which is available across an array of mobile devices, uses the built-in microphone on these devices to gather a brief audio sample of a song and then identify it. Users can tag content to access exclusive additional content.

Shazam’s growth curve puts it on the path to reach its 150 millionth user soon and to achieve 250 million users with two years.

“We focus on the discovery moments, when someone is wondering what that song is. We help start the process of discovery, consumption and going on to share with friends,” Mr. Jones said.

Music, which is core to the company’s DNA, will not be overlooked in the push into TV.

“The funding will help with our core music proposition which is primarily why users are here today,” Mr. Jones said.

The company recently introduced two new features on the music side.

Shazam LyricPlay allows music lovers to view lyrics synched in real-time to the music they are tagging. The launch was enabled by Shazam’s recent acquisition of technology from Tunezee.

Other acquisitions could be in the works.

“The new funding will help with additional acquisitions over time,” Mr. Jones said.

The other new service is Shazam Friends, which allows users to see a real-time feed of what their friends are tagging.

The social side of music will be a focus for the company going forward. Mr. Jones said the company has robust plans to enhance this area.

“Shazam has a user base of over 150 million now, so it definitely makes sense to keep investing in the music side as well,” said Aapo Markkanen, London-based senior analyst for consumer mobility at ABI Research.

“The Shazam Friends feature is an obvious first step into the social space, and I assume they’ll continue working on that,” he said.

“Discovery and recommendation, in general, is a very potent area in music services, and using the consumer’s social graph is one approach to it.”

TV tie-in
The company has a strong relationship with other firms in the mobile music business. It is integrated with streaming music services like Pandora as well as with music stores such as the iTunes Store.

“We sell over 300,000 songs per day globally and are the largest iTunes affiliate in the world,” Mr. Jones said.

As a result of the brand’s reach, leading networks such as NBCUniversal and MTV have worked with Shazam to incorporate Shazam for TV into their shows. By creating taggable shows and commercials, networks and brands can give their viewers a second-screen experience without interrupting what they are watching.

This is a service the company is looking to build out using the new funds.

The TV tie-in for Shazam started out with the music, as well, with consumers tagging TV shows for the music.

“It is a natural extension to use Shazam to engage in video content,” Mr.Jones said.

“We make TV shows and ads clickable so that with one button users can go on to deeper content about a show or buy a product in an ad,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode, Assoc. Editor, Mobile Marketer

Associate Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at chantal@mobilemarketer.com.