Updated with Saavn’s role in the partnership
After testing waters with Airtel in January, mobile based music identification service Shazam has now partnered with the online music streaming service Saavn* to allow users identify and discover music across regional languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, and Bhojpuri and genres like Bhangra, Devotional, Ghazals, Carnatic and Indipop among others.
As part of the deal, Shazam said that it has already integrated Saavn’s music library into its music database and it claims to add thousands of new music tracks every week. The deal period or the financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
For the uninitiated, Shazam is a mobile application which allows users to identify the music being played – you open the app, press a button and Shazam identifies the music by comparing a small segment of it with its own music database. While the company claims to have a music database of 27 million tracks, the database was primarily focused on English music with limited Hindi music data and little regional music data.
While Shazam was able to identify Hindi and regional music earlier, it was very limited in our experience. With this development, the company will now have improved recognition capabilities of Hindi songs and regional songs. We tried out a couple of the latest Hindi and regional songs and the app was able to correctly identify these songs. However, we noticed that the tags offered the same options it traditionally offers for all song tags.
These include the ability to share the song with their friends on Facebook and Twitter or via email, watch YouTube videos of that song, view song recommendations and additional information like discography and tour info (in case of bands) and the ability to purchase the song via Amazon or iTunes. It would be interesting to see if the company also includes links to other music store like Flyte and Hungama in the future. Remember that YouTube had started integrated Flyte and iTunes links to select music videos on its portal.
No Special Options: Interestingly, we noticed that the tags didn’t feature any additional options like we saw during the Airtel campaign. We also noticed that there is no Saavn branding of any sorts in these tags and the app recognizes songs from other music portals and the television,
indicating that the company is perhaps only providing data to Shazam right now. We have contacted Saavn on its role in this partnership and will update once we get a response.
Update: Saavn CEO Vinodh Bhat has told Medianama that it has inked an exclusive online streaming partnership with Shazam. While the Shazam app doesn’t feature any Saavn links right now, Bhat told that Shazam will start featuring Saavn links in relevant song tags in two weeks from now. He mentioned these links will be deep links i.e. if the user has already installed Saavn app on their phone, it will directly open the song in the Saavn app else it will direct users to download the Saavn app and then open the song in the app.
We feel this partnership will be important for Saavn, since it will allow them to reach out to Shazam’s user base where it has a music license to operate and hopefully increase its own user base. Shazam currently claims to have an user base of 300 million people across 200 countries while Saavn claims to have around 10 million users as of June 2012, as indicated by a Forbes report. However, its worth noting that Saavn has streaming music license in more than 200 countries globally.
Also, note that the exclusive partnership is limited to online streaming only, so Shazam can continue to list purchase links to other music stores like Flyte, Hungama or iTunes among others in the song tags.
Besides this, Bhat also informed that they are not providing any data to Shazam, but instead Shazam is only mapping to Saavn’s data, and the company continues to own the data.
Why Is This Important?
Shazam primarily monetizes by partnering with advertisers and media companies. Viewers can Shazam any content, whether an advertisement, a song or a part of a TV show, to receive promotional content, contests, or value added content such as behind the scenes clips.
With the ability to recognize Hindi and regional content, we feel that more Indian advertisers will start considering ad campaigns which integrate TV and the web. Also, we will probably see more movie studios and content companies using this technology to push promotional content to users or direct them to branded mobile experiences. This development becomes even more important now that Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has mandated significant limits on advertisements aired on television.
As stated earlier, Airtel had experimented with Shazam earlier in the year, as part of which it had aired a TV ad which can be Shazam’ed. On Shazaming it, Airtel offered users a value added service for free along with more information on its value added services and other ad campaigns.
In the United States, Shazam had tied up with the makers of the reality show American Idol to offer live episode-tagging and exclusive show-related content. It had also had signed deals with Superbowl advertisers to include Shazam capabilities in nearly one-third of Super Bowl ads, wherein it identified ads and offered additional content or directed users to branded mobile experiences.
Other Players: WooMe is a similar app which offers users instant deals and personalized content on their mobile phones, based on the program being played on the television or radio. The company claims to have partnered with television channels like Star CJ, Star Plus, Zee TV, MTV, Big CBS and TEN Sports to push personalized content like exclusive content like images and videos, free gift vouchers, and contests among others.
*Disclosure: Saavn is an advertiser with Medianama
Updates: Added disclosures