We always saw Facebook as a potential acquirer of Shazam at some point. given the latter’s position as a connector between the worlds of music, TV and advertising.
Yesterday, though, it emerged that Facebook has chosen to build this kind of functionality itself. In the coming weeks, a new feature will be added to its iOS and Android apps, initially in the US only, to identify songs and TV shows playing in the background when people post status updates.
“When writing a status update – if you choose to turn the feature on – you’ll have the option to use your phone’s microphone to identify what song is playing or what show or movie is on TV,” explained Facebook’s blog post.
“That means if you want to share that you’re listening to your favorite Beyoncé track or watching the season premiere of Game of Thrones, you can do it quickly and easily, without typing.” For tagged music, friends will be able to listen to a 30-second preview of songs via the APIs of Spotify, Rdio and Deezer.
A big headache for Shazam and rivals like SoundHound? On one level, yes, it’s a reminder that if a big tech company wants to do music (and TV) identification, building it in-house is a viable option.
On the other hand, both companies have worked hard to make themselves a homescreen habit for users: it’s hard to imagine people removing Shazam just because Facebook does something similar when they’re posting a status update.
It’s not an immediate threat to their business, then, and it could even nudge another company (Twitter? Apple?) into making an offer for one of them. Remember, Shazam is reportedly already working with Apple on integrating its service directly into the iOS 8 software that’ll be announced in early June.
More questions? People will inevitably wonder what Facebook will do with its new understanding of users’ media habits if they’re sharing details of songs and TV shows. “On the ads front, no one is able to target these posts directly today,” Facebook told TechCrunch. “It’s definitely something we’ve thought about and will potentially do in the future.”
For music marketers, that raises the prospect of being able to target ads for an artist to Facebook users who’ve tagged their songs in the past – something Shazam has also been exploring. For privacy campaigners, though, there may be questions about whether Facebook is storing details of songs and TV shows even if they’re not added to status updates.