Shazam, owner of the application that lets you identify a song by holding your phone up to a music source, has released a paid ($4.99) version of its iPhone app that makes it easier to share music and discover what’s popular among other users.
The move is part of the company’s efforts to make serious dough, now that it has a massive base of 50 million users — but it is also part of the company’s efforts to make its offerings fairer to users across multiple phones. (Shazam and the phone carriers it partnered with used to charge for its service on many phones, but Shazam decided to move to free when it launched on the iPhone. This meant that some users of other phones on the AT&T network were paying $2.99 a month, while iPhone users were getting it for free. Just not fair. Thus the scramble to realign offerings.)
It also is an attempt to expands upon Shazam’s profitable business model. Unlike many music companies, it isn’t losing money, and now that it has taken on serious backers, it wants to make a whole lot more.
Called Shazam Encore, the new Shazam iPhone app costs $4.99 in the U.S. and offers the following:
- improved speed performance: making it even quicker for users to tag tracks and learn more about their music.
- music recommendations: users can discover other music similar to the track that’s been “tagged,” or recognized, to enhance their music collection and knowledge.
- find what’s hot and popular: Shazam music charts generated by other users can be accessed to help users keep up to date with latest tastes.
- search music: easily find music by artist, album or track from over 8 million songs.
- drive and tag: Shazam automatically enters into car mode when the iPhone is placed in an in-car dock to make it simple to discover what’s playing on the radio even when driving.
The free app, which limits new users to five tags per month (existing users can tag without limits), will remain, but it also gets some more features:
- the ability to share tags, or recognized songs, onto a Facebook mini-feed.
- users can send their tags as a tweet to followers.
- tags now appear on maps inside Shazam, along with the tag history, to remind users where they were when they captured the moment.
The company is seeing tremendous traction, saying it has 10 million users on the iPhone and the rest distributed across other phones such as Blackberries, Nokias and Androids. Notably, the only platform Shazam hasn’t built an application for is the Palm. Palm users just aren’t there yet, chief executive Andrew Fisher told us.
The existing free version of Shazam seeks to make money off of ads and things like affiliate fees from sales on iTunes.
I wrote more about the company’s background here.