The GRAMMY Interview: Shazam's Andrew Fisher
The Recording Academy is hosting its third annual Social Media Rock Star Summit on Feb. 10 and it is sure to impress any music, social media or technology enthusiast. This year's panelists will feature leaders such as Shazam CEO Andrew Fisher, Turntable.fm CEO Seth Goldstein, and GetGlue CEO Alex Iskold; also in attendance will be Spotify's first artist-in-residence, D.A. Wallach, and moderator Ian Rogers, CEO of Topspin Media.
The focus of this year's summit will be a discussion on the relationship between artists and fans given the evolution of digital methods of consumption. Topics will include the role of social television, music discovery trends, and their impact on industry revenue.
Shazam first gained notice as a song discovery mobile app and has evolved into a media discovery app. With more than 175 million users in 200 countries, Shazam has seen explosive growth in the last year. Each day, Shazam identifies 6 million pieces of content and helps sell 350,000 songs.
Shazam is also branching its focus from music identification to helping advertisers find avenues of engagement with consumers. The company's most high-profile recent effort came Feb. 5 when it participated with approximately half of Super Bowl XLVI advertisers resulting in millions of content tags during the game, according to Shazam.
Leading up to the Social Media Rock Stars Summit, Fisher shared his thoughts on the music app market, intellectual property protection and privacy issues.
What's new at Shazam?
From a music perspective, we're continuing to invest in the experience to give people more reasons to use Shazam and drive daily engagement to the service. Our player launch was one of the recent products we introduced. We also have a major strategy to move into the broadcast arena. One of the more exciting things about the GRAMMYs this year is that the actual show itself will be Shazamable. Now people can use Shazam to interact with the television show directly by their cell phone.
Can you explain a little bit about the interaction Shazam will have with the GRAMMYs? What can users expect?
It's exactly the same application, so users won't have to upgrade. You simply point your cell phone at the television set and we can pick up the broadcast. We’re now supporting live broadcasts in real-time. What you get back in return depends on the format of the show. With the GRAMMYs we're going to have a combination of a social experience as well as things like images from the red carpet as people arrive, as well as being able to Shazam the performances and buy the songs.
What are your thoughts about the state of the music app market? What makes it unique?
The music app market has been very successful. I think it's reinforced how music is a mass-market category that has mass appeal and longevity. Music apps are different than other categories such as games, where you may have a shorter product life cycle. You have seen sustained engagement and download volumes for services like Pandora, Spotify and Shazam month after month. If you look at the actual volumes, with Shazam being the fourth most popular app of all time, you can see that music apps are applicable to a worldwide audience. If anything, music apps are a more enhanced experience through the cell phone. The services that are succeeding give some extra value. The mobility factor of being able to listen to music on the go, or the discovery tools that Shazam provides to enable you to identify a song at the point of inspiration. Those experiences are unique to what the cell phone provides.
What do you see in the future of the music app market?
We think there will be an even more developed experience that brings mobility into the experience. Things like knowing which concert or stadium you're at, being able to provide you with localized offers in real time, and being able to connect socially with your established friends and social networks.
The Recording Academy is concerned about protecting the intellectual property rights of artists. In what ways do you think Shazam helps promote this idea?
Historically, we have worked very closely with the industry. We have strategic relationships with organizations such as BMI, and our technology has been used to identify the royalty payments that are to be paid to artists. It has helped in royalty collection and distribution throughout the industry. We recognize that without rewarding the songwriters and artists themselves, there is no industry.
What do you hope to discuss at the Social Media Rock Stars Summit?
We're delighted to be participating at the event. [I'm] looking forward to discussing two key topics: relevancy and contextualizing social information in light of recent progress made by services such as Twitter, and privacy. We think that there are going to be significant changes over the next six months, and think it's important because the rules and regulations that let you use social networks may impact how people want to share things on public and private levels. This is a strategic consideration for the whole music industry.
(The Social Media Rock Star Summit takes place Friday, Feb. 10, starting at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET. You can watch the live event online at GRAMMY Live. You can join the conversation by tweeting @TheGRAMMYs with the hashtag #SMRSS.)
(Liz Burr is a social media junkie and the GRAMMY.com Community Tech Blogger.)
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