Music-tagging app Shazam today announced that it's expanding its functionality to let you tag any TV show on any channel in order to find out what music is playing, who's acting on screen, and more. The company also announced that it now has a mind-boggling 250 million users, which makes it one of the top ten most downloaded apps of all time since it debuted back in 2008. "Each week we get more than two million users. People think it's magical," Chief Revenue Officer Doug Garland says. "But the reason people come back is because there's an amazing degree of utility."
"Each week we get more than two million users. People think it's magical."
Until now, Shazam let you tag music as well as select sponsored TV shows and ads by tapping a button that pops up when you launch the app. Now when you open Shazam you can tag anything you're watching on TV and see music from that show, information from IMDb about cast and crew, trivia, "celebrity buzz" (a serving of aggregated tabloid headlines), the latest tweets about the show, and a button to pre-load a tweet with the correct hashtag for the show you're watching. Tagging sporting events even pops up statistics and a box score inside the app. Shazam has a room full of servers watching 160 channels in the US (which leaves out most local-only channels) and fingerprinting content as it airs — a first for the company aside from work it did during the Olympics this summer and during Super Bowl XLVI back in February.
"Interactive TV has been roadkill thus far on the information superhighway."
"We noticed that 54 percent of users were using Shazam at least once a week to tag things on TV... so we thought that there's a lot more we can do with this." Garland says. "Interactive TV has been roadkill thus far on the information superhighway." The company has already worked with over 140 brands to integrate Shazam inside ads, but hopes to do more work integrating specific TV shows and contextual content around them. Shazam has worked on the new "Shazam for TV" functionality for over eight months. The company already generates over $300 million in digital sales, Garland said, which will only grow once users have access to tagging an even larger library of content. Shazam's new features and 250 million users nearly instantly transform it from a useful music-tagging app into the most popular TV companion app in the world.