Mobile app Shazam announced its latest milestone yesterday: 10bn tags. Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’ got the nod as the 10 billionth tag on the service, which launched in 2002 as a way for people to identify songs playing in the real world using their mobile phones.
Shazam also said yesterday that it’s now processing 100m tags a week, up 150% on this time last year, while reminding us that its 70m active users currently buy more than $300m of digital music a year through the app – around 10% of all downloads.
“It took ten years for the company to reach its first billion, ten months to reach its second billion and now, the company has seen user activity accelerate so rapidly that it only took two months to go from nine to ten billion Shazams,” said CEO Rich Riley in a statement.
But yesterday’s figures also gave an insight into the relative importance of music and TV/advertising to Shazam, as part of this rapid growth. Earlier this summer, Shazam’s executive chairman Andrew Fisher said that 54% of Shazam’s users currently tag something on TV once a week. That’s just under 38m people, indicating that at least 38% of those 100m weekly tags are TV-related.
And that tallies with another stat in yesterday’s press release: that 100 songs were tagged in the same second as ‘Applause’ as the 10bn milestone was reached. Do the maths, and 101 songs a second scales up to just over 61m song tags a week.
A 60/40 split between music and TV tags would show how rapidly Shazam’s TV and advertising business has grown, even though the company continues to invest in its music business: the music-tagging features have been the easiest way to get people using Shazam in the first place, so they’re primed to pull out their phones when they see a Shazam logo on their TV screen, after all.
But thinking about iTunes affiliate fees versus payments from broadcasters and brands, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Shazam’s TV revenues overtake its music revenues sooner rather than later – if they haven’t already.