Shazam is one of the best examples of creating magic in mobile, and obviously thus creating a mobile service that is unique to mobile, not just replicating something from the previous 6 legacy mass media. For those who don't know, Shazam is the music identification service. You hear recorded music anywhere, on the radio, while sitting in a coffee shop, riding an elevator, anywhere. You want to identfify what is the song and who is the artist. You take your phone, dial the Shazam number, point the phone at the music, and it samples the song for a few seconds and then hangs up the call. In about a minute you receive an SMS text message informing you of what is the artist and title of the song, and on what album the song is as well. Clever, simple very elegant service, works like a charm (as long as the music is reasonably loud or the phone is close to the loudspeaker.
I described Shazam in one of my Pearls back in 2002 and awarded it my Pearl of the Year honor for 2002. I discuss it in the magic chapter of the current Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media book.
Ok, so now time for an update. My dear friend multiple author Ajit Jaokar also is a fan of Shazam and has posted an update of their numbers at Forum Oxford. Ajit reports that Shazam now has 35 million users in 60 countries and they get 1 million "tags" (music identifiation requests) per day.
Ah! Now we get some insights on the numbers. I don't have their current pricing (they started in the UK with 50 pence per tag) Even if we say their global average cost is 30 US cents per tag, that works out to a very impressive 109 million dollars in annual revenues. By their active user base, thats on average 26 cents per actuve user per month so it is not a heavy burden on our wallets - thats only 1.5% of the average monthly mobile phone bill. Yet produces over 100 million dollars per year. Isn't mobile magical?
You don't need fanscy 3G for this. You don't need expensive smartphones. You don't need to use advertising (although Shazam also offers that and also helps sell music etc). A simple service that servces a need that we all have. 35 million users in 60 countries using it a million times per day, 109 million dollars. Beautiful