Shazam Unlocks TV Shows, Converts Buyers To Subscribers

Shazam is trying to convert one-off buyers in to annual subscribers, while also aiming to become the key with which viewers unlock TV content.

Though the song identification app recently limited its free app and introduced a £2.99 ($4.62) paid version, this new version is nevertheless successful, riding high in iTunes Store’s music app chart.

Now it’s aiming to convert that one-off payment in to an annual subscription, through app stores that support subscription. Shazam is retaining its $4.99 (£3.24) one-off fee and adding a $2.99 (£1.94) annual subscription for those who want it.

Meanwhile, Shazam is following up its February brand marketing experiment – when clothes-maker Dockers invited viewers of its TV ad to open its mobile ewbsite by Shazaming the ad’s soundtrack – with a similar partnership with the Syfy TV channel…

Syfy will run Shazam’s logo over season-finale episodes of Eureka and Warehouse 13 – a prompt to unlock unseen next-season previews and competition prizes by Shazaming the shows.

No longer just a song identifier, Shazam is now calling itself a “mobile discovery provider”. In this sense, as long as someone provides Shazam with an audio fingerprint, the app could conceivably be used to recognise just about anything audible, and to prompt an appropriate mobile response.

Shazam is one of the UK’s most promising, but least talked about, digital outfits. It hit a 50 million user target by end of 2009 and in May reported 75 million users on the way to its target of 100 million by end of 2010.

CEO Andrew Fisher has previously told me the next step would be to consider IPO.

But it was still loss-making in its 2008/09 financial year. The annual subscription could give Shazam more chance at sustainability than one-off paid downloads alone.