August 7, 2012 at 11:35 am

Shazam: 5 Billion Tags Served

Music apps are starting to put up some McDonalds-style numbers. Today brings news that Shazam, the most popular song identification app on a number of platforms, just identified its five billionth song: Pink’s “Blow Me One Last Kiss” (embeddable player courtesy of Tomahawk):

This marks a big milestone on a long road for Shazam, which started in 1999 as a way for English people to identify songs with dumbphones. When I first met with the company as a young(er) CNET writer, I was “gobsmacked,” as the Brits say, by what it did. To use it, you’d simply call a phone number from any regular phone, and hold the phone towards some speakers. Some sort of magical answering machine on the other side would record the music, analyze it using audio fingerprinting, and then text you the appropriate artist and song title via SMS. Today, the Shazam apps work in much the same way.

“Shazam is achieving growth and customer engagement that is unparalleled, with more than two million people downloading the app each week and using it ten million times every day,”said Shazam CEO Andrew Fisher. “It took Shazam ten years to see its first billion tags, then ten months to achieve the second billion. And in just a year, we have gone from two billion tags to five billion.”

That’s a lot of tags — and part of the reason for the accelerating growth is that acoustic song identification makes even more sense in the smartphone era than it did 13 years ago, when Shazam was founded.

Here’s a little timeline of Shazam’s progress over last couple of years, as traced by As you can see, Shazam has been getting involved with tagging music and other audio on television, even going to far as to work with the Olympics organizers to facilitate the identification of all those British songs that played during the opening ceremony. We think audio could even do what QR codes were trying to do.

August 2, 2012: Olympic Organizers Worked with Shazam to Help Viewers Tag Songs

February 6, 2012: Shazam Says Super Bowl Audio Tagging Was a Win

February 2, 2012: Shazam Goes All Super Bowl On Us… Is Audio the New QR Code?

January 11, 2012: Shazam Launches Music Player with Real-Time Lyrics

November 17, 2011: Graph: Led Zeppelin Tagging Spiked on Shazam During ‘Entourage’ Finale

September 29, 2011: Shazam Stops Charging for Unlimited Song IDs on iOS

December 16, 2010: Shazam’s Music Identification App Predicts Hip-Hop Will Dominate 2011

  • Svante Stadler

    They obviously sold that slot to Pink’s record company … they have been marketing that song really hard (for no apparent use)