apple shazam

It’s a good year for 20th birthdays of significant brands in the digital music world – and if you think this is an excuse for reminding you that Music Ally is turning 20 next month, you’d be absolutely right! But 2002 was also the year that launched, and music recognition service Shazam too.

Its parent company since 2018, Apple, is celebrating the anniversary with a big new stat: 70bn song recognitions. That’s up from 50bn in June 2021 the last time Apple published this metric, at which time Shazam was being used to tag more than 1bn tracks every month. Based on the new stat, the latter figure is more like 1.4bn a month now.

Apple also says that Shazam now has more than 225 million monthly active users. That’s steadier growth from when it reached 200 million MAUs in November 2020: it’s added around 1.2m a month since then. Being integrated into Apple’s iOS software has helped with the growth in users and tags.

Apple is also still investing in the service in terms of new features. Shazam has also recently added concert discovery features via a Bandsintown partnership; tested out some Apple Maps-fuelled guides to venues and clubs; and launched its Top 200 charts in a range of African and Asian countries.

Apple also hailed Shazam’s role in helping African artists in particular break globally. That’s continued in the 20th birthday announcement, which notes that Shazam’s longest-running chart-topper of 2021 was ‘Love Nwantiti [Remix]’ by Nigerian artist CKay.

More stats? Drake is the most-tagged artist ever on Shazam with more than 350m identifications, while Tones And I’s ‘Dance Monkey’ is the most-tagged track with 41m Shazams. But in a reminder of Shazam’s pre-app roots, Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ was the most-tagged track using the original method of using the service: dialling 2580 on phones in the UK.

(Talking of which, anyone fancying a ‘yes there were mobile music startups before there were app stores’ trip down history lane can settle in for this Medium long-read on Shazam’s earliest days. Rest assured we’ll be gauging the appetite for a similar piece on Music Ally’s origin story – even if we’re currently lacking a $400m acquisition by a tech giant to give it historical punch…)

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