Apple’s Shazam at 20: Once Seemingly Magic, Now Monetization Machine

Shazam, Apple, monetization, 20th anniversary

Know when you hear a great song and wish you knew the title? That’s why the Shazam app was invented in 2002, but it’s only part of the reason Apple acquired the song recognition tech in 2017 for a reported $400 million.

Now, it’s celebrating 20 years of discoverability, creator monetization and adding new features.

Showing the strength of Apple’s streaming music subscriptions, in June, J.P. Morgan estimated that the Apple Music and Gaming service is on track to generate $8.2 billion by 2025.

During an earnings call in April, Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said the company was seeing “all-time records” for the App Store, music and video advertising and payment services, saying, “We now have more than 825 million paid subscriptions across the services on our platform, which is up more than 165 million during the last 12 months alone.”

See also: Apple Music, Gaming Could Generate $8.2B by 2025

In an Aug. 19 blog post, Apple marked the 20th anniversary of Shazam’s creation by posting a playlist of the most searched songs since its inception. The most Shazamed track of all time is Tones And I’s “Dance Monkey” — not exactly an obscure earworm by any stretch of the imagination. However, Apple is using the popular app for creator monetization and fair recompense for artists whose music appears in odd places.

Late last year, Apple announced it had “developed a new process to identify and fairly compensate all of the individual creators featured in thousands of DJ mixes. In cooperation with major and independent labels, Apple Music is directly paying rights holders within these DJ mixes and creating long-term monetary value for all creators involved, a feat that was once deemed impossible until now.”

That was music to the ears of music creators whose songs are often sampled by DJs in their sets without royalties being paid. By “listening” to mixes and picking out these clips, more creators are now receiving payments as a result.

Creator news site EDM reported that “Apple Music’s solution … is likely to dramatically shift creator sentiment around the viability of publishing and monetizing mixes. That is, assuming the technology is accurate enough to instill confidence in music rights holders. Oliver Schusser, Apple’s VP of Music & International Content, told Billboard the technology has sustained rigorous pressure testing. To bring the accuracy of the technology up to snuff, Apple iterated upon the feature for over a year, while testing via trial and error.”

EDM added that “currently, Apple Music’s mix catalogue contains over 1,200 mixes including selections hosted by iconic dance music brands Tomorrowland, Boiler Room, and more. With the advent of this feature, mix suppliers such as festivals, venues, labels, and other non-rights holder entities will also have the potential to seek monetization from these assets.”

Music to Creators’ Ears

Shazam is also surfacing new artists and getting them paid, as the tech giant explained in a blog post: “By seeing how listeners discover your music in all parts of the world, you can plan social media activity, promotions, and even live shows to connect with your growing audience.”

In its 20th anniversary announcement, Apple noted that virtually unknown Nigerian artist CKay held the longest-running global Shazam track of 2021, making the track Love Nwantiti [Remix] “the second song to ever surpass one million Shazams in a week.”

Read more: Apple’s Services Push Continues, With 825M Paid Subscriptions in Place

In the Apple announcement, CKay said, “Shazam has played an impactful role in my career. It allowed millions of people all over the world to discover me and my unique Nigerian sound. It made me a global sensation even before I started to perform all over the world. The story of CKay cannot be told without Shazam connecting me to the world.”

Moving in other directions to help artists monetize using Shazam’s massive installed base, Apple wrote in yet another blog that “Shazam now makes it easy for fans to view your upcoming concerts and purchase tickets. By pairing your concert information and ticket links with Shazam, you can make sure your fans never miss a show.”

To leverage this feature, artists create a profile on the Bandsintown social promotion app, upload concert dates, “and Shazam will do the rest. By Shazaming a song, fans can find your concert information and tickets for sale near their locations. From the Shazam iOS app, Android app, or website, they can also view your concert page for additional tour information and share concert details.”