April 6, 2012, 3:59 PM

Shazam’s take on couch commerce

There are implications for e-commerce in Shazam's TV-integrated marketing service.

Over the past few months I’ve noticed the Shazam logo popping up on my TV screen. Shazam is a web-based service available via an app on tablets and smartphones that, when activated, identifies music tracks by name and artist. It’s for those times when you hear a song playing and wish you knew who sang it, basically. The app uses the speakers on your smartphone or tablet and listens to the song for a few seconds and then gives you the artist, song and album info. You can then click through and buy the track on iTunes and elsewhere. I’d bought a few songs that way.

That was the extent of my knowledge of Shazam until its logo popped up, seemingly randomly and for about 30 seconds at a time, on a TV show I DVR. It got me wondering, then wondering more because I realized the scenes on the show that coordinated with the logo pop-up didn’t contain music. So I grabbed my iPad from my coffee table and launched the Shazam app I used for identifying music just to see what would happen. It listened to the audio coming from my TV and then connected me to a web page about “Being Human,” the show I was watching from my DVR at least a week after it aired live. The page showed me clips from upcoming episodes, a car ad and some sweepstakes entry form. It did also have a list of songs played in the episode, which I could then buy.

It got me thinking about selling opportunities, and I’m sure the marketers behind the show are thinking about them too. How about selling me DVDs of season one? How about selling me that jacket the character is wearing, and so on? The content of the page wasn’t there quite yet, but you can see where this is going. It holds potential for TV networks, advertisers and, with the right retailer partnerships, e-commerce. After all, I didn’t watch a single TV commercial during that show, since I skipped past them with my DVR, but I did see what was in the app and I’m predisposed to buying online.

Shazam Entertainment Ltd. raised $32 million in venture funding last year to develop the TV advertising-online hook. Yesterday it announced all the remaining episodes of this year’s “American Idol” will be Shazam-enabled. People who tap into it will be able to see and buy the songs finalists performed, read Twitter tweets and post to Facebook from the app. I can’t imagine it’ll be long before the show’s sponsors, which include Coca-Cola and AT&T, and other advertiser will figure a way to get in on this aspect of couch commerce.    

 

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