February 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

Shazam Goes All Super Bowl On Us… Is Audio the New QR Code?

shazam superbowl

Screenshot of Shazam tagging Superbowl content courtesy of Shazam

Shazam, the fourth-most-popular iOS app of all time, plans to let Super Bowl viewers tag the audio coming out of their television sets on Sunday. Tagging audio essentially provides links to online content through your smartphone’s microphone, the same way that QR codes can link to stuff through your smartphone’s camera, except it’s arguably much easier, because you just press a button instead of taking a picture of something.

Fans will be able to tag the music played by Interscope artists at the halftime show for access to exclusive add-on content, and to find out more about the artists who are performing including on Facebook and Twitter, but that’s just the music-oriented tip of the iceberg. Brands of all kinds plan to give away more than one million items to viewers who tag stuff — everything from two Toyota Camrys to the opportunity to donate a dollar to charity — and approximately one half of the ads appearing during the show will be Shazam-enabled.

It’s not just about ads — it’s also about providing the much-vaunted “second screen” experience, which allows fans to augment their experience of television entertainment with stuff that goes along with what they’re seeing on the screen. So, instead of distracting yourself from your television with the entire internet, you can distract yourself with internet stuff that goes along with what you’re seeing on the television, which, in this case, is stuff like key stats from the game, polls about the players, and so on.

Here’s the full list of Shazam for TV goodies that will be on offer during this year’s Super Bowl for users of the Shazam app (available from iTunes App Store, Android Market, Amazon App Store, AT&T’s AppCenter, Verizon VCast app store, Nokia Store, Windows Phone Marketplace, BlackBerry App World, and GetJar.):

  • Toyota – the ad will include a sweepstake to win two Camrys – one for you and one for a friend.
  • Best Buy – Best Buy’s spot will feature two of Shazam’s founders. Additionally, Best Buy is running a $50 gift card offer for consumers looking to buy and activate a mobile phone in 2012 when they tag the ad.
  • Cars.com – when viewers use Shazam to tag the ad, Cars.com will donate $1.00 to one of seven charities, up to a maximum $100,000.
  • Pepsi – the new ad that features the winner of the X-FACTOR – Melanie Amaro performing Otis Redding’s song “Respect” – will invite people to unlock a free video.
  • Teleflora – viewers who tag Teleflora’s “Give” ad starring super model Adriana Lima will receive a secret offer.
  • Plus, a number of other commercials including GE, Relativity’s new Navy Seals action-thriller, “Act of Valor” and Disney’s upcoming movie “John Carter” will be Shazam-enabled providing great offers and more.

Halftime Show

Through a partnership with Bud Light, this year’s Bridgestone Super Bowl Halftime show will be Shazam-enabled.   When people use Shazam to tag the performance, they can unlock exclusive content and experience more by the Interscope artists performing.

The Game

Whether people are fans of the Patriots or the Giants, Shazam has made it easy for them to get more involved in the Super Bowl.  When viewers use Shazam during the game, they can:

  • Access up-to-the-minute statistics to keep track of all the key plays and players;
  • Participate in polls about the game and ads with other fans;
  • Share their experience with their friends on Facebook and Twitter;
  • Conveniently purchase merchandise including hats to jerseys and much more from Shazam’s mobile store.
This is not Shazam’s first foray into television content; last September, the company noticed a massive spike in Led Zeppelin tagging during the Entourage finale, when that band’s “Going to California” accompanied the end of the series. Shazam also recently announced integration with select shows on E’s The Soup, USA’s Psych, and Syfy’s Being Human.
So, will audio tagging (also called fingerprinting) on Shazam and other apps replace those ugly QR codes as a method to link online and offline content?
Clearly, it wouldn’t work for a magazine, but for something like the Super Bowl that has music and audio anyway, it sure seems like a better solution.
  • Anonymous

    Shazam is impractical and very much flawed in their growth model. They are hoping people are going to download their app, open and analyze the audio all in the matter of a 30-90 sec time slot. This of course all granted that they see the one (1) inch visual tag on the commercial on the bottom left corner of the screen and are enticed to do so. Shazam shouldn’t be singling out commercials, but in turn analyze all audio coming out of your television set and create an enhanced experience the whole time your eyes are glued to the tube. Hopefully your phone or secondary device running Shazam as well. 

    As for audio tagging replacing QR codes, in a sense yes. With that said, I don’t believe that single videos will be tagged, but rather all audio/video will be tagged. Yes, some will be more enchanted than others with certain marketing initiatives, but over all, our secondary devices are going to make the viewing of television more interactive in the future.