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Shazam is in talks with the BBC, Bauer Media and Global Radio to leverage music data for potential partnerships.

The music identification service is looking to forge closer relationships with radio stations and music labels to capitalise on music-related data.

Shazam VP of advertising, EMEA, Asia Pacific, Miles Lewis (pictured below) told new media age that part of its road map is to explore the “next frontier” of data usage, which he believes is still relatively unexploited.

“I see some major opportunities around data,” he said. “There are buckets of data everywhere but the questions for the bright people in the room is always,’ what are you going to do with that data?’ Dunnhumby, for example, has more data on Tesco shoppers than anyone else, but what has it done with it? I get my Tesco mail every month and it is about nappies. Somewhere along the line the data problem hasn’t been mastered and we now need to take it to the next level.”

Sharing music-related data with labels and radio stations for mutual benefit is an area Lewis is keen to explore. “Last.fm is one I’d like to work with, because of its ‘scrobbling’ feature and its enormous database, which contains about 60bn pieces of information related to people’s listening tastes,” he said.  

By tracking, or “scrobbling”, music played last.fm can monitor which artists and bands are played and how often, so it can chart which receive the most air time. It can also build a detailed profile of individual listener’s music tastes by recording details of the songs they listen to.

“There are several ways we could work together here,” said Lewis. “For example, if a consumer tags a certain song with Shazam, last.fm could then supply us with the next five tracks that 40m of their listeners have listened to next. So a consumer could buy the track and then be recommended the next 5 tracks, which they might also buy. We could then work out some sort of revenue share with last.fm.”

Lewis, who joined Shazam in February, is also aiming to kick start talks with retailers and will build up a UK sales team in the coming months to address Shazam’s own in-app ad model. He has appointed the company’s first UK sales manager, who will start on 8 May and will be responsible for developing new ways of using the app’s ad real estate.

“We’ve removed all remnant advertising, from the typical digital banners you get across mobile, because I don’t think it’s the best use of the real estate,” he said. “We have a very passionate audience here who are engaged for each session, but we’re not a content play – we don’t have users here for an hour and a half. Allowing remnant advertisers, some of them big UK brands, access to us for a very cheap price is not a good value proposition for us. That moment you find that song is a good moment from a human being point of view – it’s a passion moment. That’s a great place to be for an advertiser to be in.”

This could stretch to skinning tags, or letting brands that want an entry point into the music space to sponsor certain tagged songs on a monthly basis, according to Lewis. “That human, feel-good moment when a user tags a favourite song is great for brand association,” he said.

His comments follow Shazam’s exclusive tie up with ITV, which will see the broadcaster become the UK distributor for Shazam-enabled ads, of which Toyota is one of the first (pictured above).

Lewis said the broadcaster is also open to the potential for extending the use of Shazam to editorial content as well as ads, something it has already started in the US with shows including Being Human and the Super Bowl.

“In the US, where the commercial business-development team has been in place 14 months, the number of Shazam-enabled programmes is huge,” said Lewis. “Being Human was one of them, this allowed you to get more content. For example, Florence and the machine played in one episode and it offered you a free track. The Super Bowl was kind of like our coming-out party in which the content, including Madonna’s mid-show concert and the ads, were Shazam-enabled.”

It is yet to replicate this in the UK, but it is definitely part of the road map, according to Lewis. “We now have 200m users worldwide, 10m in the UK – that’s nearly as big as one of the major TV programmes, all tagging millions of tracks a month,” he said. “The potential is huge.”


Published 27 April, 2012 by NMA Staff

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