Record labels say Shazam can predict the next big pop hit

Saqib Shah
February 21, 2014

Record labels are increasingly looking to data from mobile app Shazam to predict what the next hit song will be.

Every time one of Shazam’s 88 million users IDs a song on their phone, record labels receive another chunk of crucial information to determine the next big hit.

Far from just a resource to identify a song, each ID tag that shows up in the British company’s database gets packaged into pop data charts, shown to record labels, radio stations and concert promoters and used to make a potential hit even bigger.

Daft Punk’s  ‘Get Lucky’ and Lorde’s ‘Royals’ are among the many blockbusters that were first tracked by Shazam.

Executives at both Shazam and within record labels  have noticed a pattern over the last few years:  the company’s pop charts often predict  Billboard’s Hot 100 and Top 40 airplay a month or more in advance.

“Our data has shown that we can typically predict 33 days in advance what’s going to be at the top of the Billboard Hot 100,” Peter Szabo, Shazam’s head of music, told Rolling Stone. “It’s fun to see the epidemic start to spread    the growth of these songs, starting in a city.”

The demand for the data is so high that Shazam is planning to charge people in the record business for a ‘dashboard’ feature, set for release later this year, with more in-depth statistics.

Meanwhile,  record companies are obsessing over the regional data they receive from the app in order to identify radio stations and concert venues they can approach with stronger sales pitches.

“In the old days, record companies would rely on [data tracking service] SoundScan for weekly sales    and you’d wait a week,” stated Avery Lipman, founder of Universal Music-owned Republic.

“But Shazam is literally in real-time. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself drawn to it all day, checking out places like Mineola, New York, or Oshkosh, Wisconsin.”

In an example of how much the music industry now relies upon the app,  Warner Music Group became the first label to ink a deal with Shazam, creating a label imprint specifically for artists found through the service.

Source: Rolling Stone

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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