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Music-identifying Shazam app can now ID any TV show in the U.S.

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:36PM EST

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Popular music identification service Shazam is now more versatile than ever. After announcing on Monday the app is now used by over a quarter of a billion global users, the company is setting its sights on helping couch potatoes identify TV programs in the U.S. When used during a TV show, the Shazam app can pull up information on the cast, trivia, the buzz on celebrities and links from IMDB, Wikipedia and official websites.

Naturally, Shazam’s chief revenue officer Doug Garland believes the ability to identify TV shows with its robust audio track database will help the app become the definitive second-screen experience. “We’ve applied what we’ve learned to our newly expanded service, and will continue to work closely with our network partners and show producers to build special, unique second-screen experiences for their tent-pole television events and many of the most popular shows on TV.” 

Shazam joins the likes of Nintendo (NTDOY) and Microsoft (MSFT), which are paving their own paths to “second-screen experiences” with the Wii U GamePad and SmartGlass, respectively. Shazam’s press release follows below.

Shazam Exceeds a Quarter of a Billion Users Worldwide and Expands Shazam for TV in the U.S. to Include Any Show, Any Channel

Palo Alto, CA – September 17, 2012 – Shazam®, the world’s leading media engagement company, today announced that it has achieved the major milestone of exceeding a quarter of a billion users globally.  Shazam also announced that it has expanded its Shazam for TV™ second-screen service in the U.S. to support TV programming on any channel, anytime of day.  Now, Shazam fans can use the app as a “TV companion app” with any TV show in the U.S. to access cast details and photos, music in the show, celebrity gossip, trivia, celebrity tweets, and links to additional information, plus the ability to instantly share and comment on the show or episode on Facebook and Twitter.

With more than a quarter of a billion people who have used Shazam worldwide, no other app has our scale when it comes to offering the opportunity to engage with the media that interests them the most, whether it’s music or television.  And now, that experience is even better than before, enabling people in the US to engage with any show at any time,” said Andrew Fisher, Shazam CEO.

Starting today, when people in the U.S. use the Shazam App while watching television, they have a fast and easy way to access:

  • Featured music – Shazam has leveraged its rich music history and its 20+ million track database to identify the music featured in whatever people are watching
  • Cast information – the app will list the cast featured in the program, guest stars, as well as other shows they’ve been in
  • Trivia – fans can learn more about their favorite program and even read about the occasional goofs with the trivia feature in the app
  • Celebrity buzz – gives fans all the latest gossip about the show and the stars in it
  • Social sharing – live Twitter feeds as well as commenting in the app makes it fun to talk with your friends about what you’re watching
  • More information – convenient links to show-related information at IMDB, Wikipedia, and the official site for the show.

Additionally, different types of programming will feature different results.  For instance, sports events will include stats, scores and schedules instead of cast information.

Over the last year, Shazam has been testing and learning what works by building dozens of custom interactive second-screen experiences for select television shows and events like the Olympics on NBC, American Idol, the GRAMMYs, and the Super Bowl, as well as other live and scripted programming across sports, reality, dramas, comedy and awards shows,” said Doug Garland, chief revenue officer. “We’ve applied what we’ve learned to our newly expanded service, and will continue to work closely with our network partners and show producers to build special, unique second-screen experiences for their tent-pole television events and many of the most popular shows on TV.”

In addition to expanding Shazam for TV, Shazam is also enhancing its social features for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android devices.  When Shazamers activate the Shazam Friends feature in the app, they can see what their Facebook friends are tagging, and now they will be able to make comments about their friends’ tags in the app.  Additionally, with the activation, people’s tags will appear on their Facebook profile in their timeline, enabling people to discuss with their friends in Facebook what they are watching or listening to.  For people who download Shazam for the first time, they will see the “Login with Facebook” message when they open the app for the first time. Users can also change these Facebook sharing preferences in the Settings section of the app.  Social sharing via Twitter and Google+ is also available.  These  new sharing features will be released in the coming weeks with additional features to be added in the coming months, including being able to Like tags.

According to industry studies, 86% of smartphone owners use their mobile device while watching TV and, with our expansion into television, we’ve seen a surge of activity due to recent Shazam-enabled events such as the NBC Olympic broadcast, where more than one million people tagged the closing ceremony, as well as the US Open tennis grand slam event on CBS earlier this month,” said Fisher.  “We think that broadening our television service and offering more comprehensive social features will continue to drive activity and engagement.”

For people who don’t yet have the Shazam application on their smartphone, it is available for free on every major platform and can be found on iTunes App Store, Google play, Amazon App Store,AT&T’s AppCenter, Verizon VCast app store, Nokia Store, Windows Phone Marketplace, BlackBerry App World, and GetJar.

* Shazam for TV works for over 160 channels of television programming in the U.S., regardless of whether you subscribe to cable or satellite TV or watch broadcast TV over-the-air. However, it will not always support local-only programming, for example, some local news broadcasts or local paid advertising programs.


Raymond Wong is a technology reporter with a passion for cutting-edge gadgets and clean design. His writing has appeared on DVICE, Ubergizmo, G4TV, Yahoo News, NBC blogs. You might even have seen his videos on Xbox LIVE.