Shazam may have built its huge audience through helping them identify music, but as the company heads into 2015, its musical focus is as much about playing those tunes rather than directing people elsewhere.

That’s a trend that’s been underway for a while, but was emphasised yesterday with a relaunch of Shazam’s music features. They include even more focus on the app’s news feed, with music news and song recommendations based on each user’s past tagging habits, as well as exclusive live sessions and interviews.

The app’s dedicated music player also has more priority in the redesign, complete with the ability for users to sign in to Spotify to listen to tracks in full within Shazam’s iOS app, with Android to follow. This matches the existing integration with Rdio, incidentally.

As we’ve noted before, Shazam is far from just a music app nowadays: if anything, its path to an IPO or acquisition looks more related to its TV and advertising business.

Even so, the company has been steadily iterating its music features, which remain a big draw for many of its 100 million monthly active users. Shazam also has more clout within the music industry than ever thanks to its metrics, which are also getting a tweak – tag counts will now be published alongside tracks in the charts on its website.

Shazam as an app for playing music is an interesting prospect though, given that historically its value has often been seen in terms of how many download purchases it generates by sending users to iTunes and other stores.

That aspect has been declining over time, as we noted in September: in March 2013 Shazam was generating 1m daily song purchases, but this had fallen to 400,000 a day by August 2014 – a reflection of wider trends in the digital music market.

Let’s see now whether the revamped Shazam can be as big (or even bigger) a driver for streams as it once was for sales.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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