Shazam, the maker of the popular music recognition app of the same name, announced Monday that it is getting $40 million from Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man. The investment comes through Slim’s company, America Movil (NYSE: AMX), the largest telecommunications carrier in the Americas.
“The investment will help accelerate Shazam’s ongoing growth in music, continued expansion into television and the development of innovative new products,” Shazam said in a press release. The money will also help Shazam, a U.K.-based company, expand into Latin America.
Shazam initially made an iPhone app that would record a few seconds of a song and return information to the user about the artist, track name, album and where to buy it. The app has since expanded to TV shows and recently came to the iPad with a new “auto-tagging” feature. The app is consistently ranked in the top 10 apps on iTunes, boasts more than 70 million active monthly users and is growing at a rate of 2 million users a week.
Other than expansion into TV and Latin America, Shazam didn’t offer any concrete details about how it will spend Slim’s $40 million. Here’s a wish list of things we want to see come to the app.
1. Voice Tagging
Everyone has been in that situation where a song name or artist is right on the tip of your tongue, but all you can remember is how the main chorus goes. Wouldn’t it be great if you could sing it and the app could identify it for you, no matter how bad your voice is? Going a step further, it would be great if Shazam could pull up information on songs or TV shows simply by asking it questions. For example, it could pull up “I’ll Be There For You” from The Rembrandts with a link to purchase the track when asked “What is the theme song from "Friends"?
2. Reference Identifiers
A lot of popular comedies make jokes that reference older movies and TV shows, yet a lot of these jokes are lost on users. Would it be great if you could run Shazam’s new auto-tagging feature while watching a show, and get notes about the references? Now no "Family Guy" joke would be too obscure.
3. Non-music, Non-television Identification
It was big when Shazam made the leap into television, but we think there is still more ways to expand in the field of audio identification. What about an app that can identify bird sounds, or one that point out what language someone is using and maybe even help translate?
4. In-program Shopping
Did you like that dress Joan was wearing on that episode of "Mad Men"? Like, do you really like it? Want to find out who makes it and how much it costs, or even buy it right away? With more investment in television, this should absolutely become a function of Shazam.
5. Accessibility Aid
Shazam can take just a few seconds of sound and return a lot of information, but wouldn’t it be great to see this technology applied to something besides entertainment? The tech behind Shazam could go a long way in developing accessibility apps, especially for the hard of hearing. It would be even better to see something like this on Google Glass.
What new features would you like to see come to Shazam? Let us know in the comments section.