Before Apple came up with the App Store, Shazam was doing what it still does best: helping people identify the music they are listening to. Back in 2002, that didn’t exactly work on flip phones the way it does on an iPhone or Android these days.
“Shazam was mobile before mobile was cool”
“We like to say ‘Shazam was mobile before mobile was cool,'” says Rich Riley, Shazam CEO. “When it was originally launched, you would basically record a sound clip, text that to Shazam systems, and it would return with the name of the song and you would pay like a dollar for that text.”
Four years later came the iPhone.
“It took about 10 years to do the first 1 billion Shazams and now we do a billion Shazams every 45 days or something like that,” Riley says.
Top Shazam’d Songs of All Time: 15 million-plus
Shazam is not just about music anymore. Users can also “Shazam” television shows, movies and advertisements. The company also recently received $40 million from Mexico’s Telecom mogul Carlos Slim for continued expansion.
“Most people now have this incredibly powerful device in their pocket. It’s only getting faster, it’s only getting more powerful and it’s the way they are going to want to connect to things around them,” Riley says.
The company will soon announce “visual shazaming.” Users will be able to “Shazam” things like print ads, quick response codes and packages.
“Say if it’s a DVD, for example, you can push Shazam and watch the full trailer,” Riley says.
Shazam in five words or less
“Connect people to the world,” Riley says.
Rich Riley’s “Bad Day at Work” Playlist
“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift is the song currently stuck in Riley’s head, he says, because his kids are obsessed with it.