Historically, Shazam built its music business on identifying songs then pointing people to digital music stores to buy them.

Over the last couple of years, though, its app has adapted to the world of streaming music, adding links to Spotify, Rdio and Deezer (then removing the links to Spotify, in a controversial move earlier this year).

But it’s Rdio that looks Shazam’s premier streaming partner, particularly after yesterday’s expansion of the two companies’ partnership. Until then, Shazam users tagging a song could tap a button to play it in Rdio’s app. Now, they can listen to tracks within Shazam itself, without having to leave the app.

There is prominent branding for Rdio too: a “Listen with Rdio” button with its logo whenever a track can be played within Shazam. “We’ve taken it to the next level by integrating,” chief product officer Daniel Danker told Billboard yesterday. “We’re turning streaming into a first-class partner.” The new feature is already available in Shazam’s iOS app, with Android to follow this week.

This doesn’t appear to be an exclusive deal. Shazam’s press release refers to “full song playback, currently powered by Rdio”, while Rdio’s SVP of product Chris Becherer says his company is “the first streaming music service to power Shazam’s new in-app song playback”. That leaves potential for a second, a third and so on.

As we suggested when Shazam ditched Spotify for Deezer earlier in the year, having preferred partners in the streaming world isn’t necessarily a problem, but excluding popular services is a recipe for user unrest.

Short-term commercial deals may boost Shazam’s bottom line, but we suspect the sensible long-term solution would be full integration with all the major streaming services – including full-song playback.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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