Rewriting history is always good clean funIt seems that GoMo News has ruffled a few feathers chez Shazam with our recent story on Shazam’s Fisher here. He’s described as “boss” by the Sunday Times, when he’s not actually the CEO – Rich Riley is. Shazam PR lass, Rica Squires, has taken umbrage at our criticism and described our piece as containing “a couple of things that weren’t quite accurate.” Oh, really? See our piece below republished from WAP Insight. We’d also dispute her claim that our story was neither fair nor an accurate representation.
Squires argues that Shazam’s patented fingerprinting technology has never recognised music by humming or singing into it or using it with your favourite 80s cover band in your local pub.
Sadly, we’d beg to differ because we were actually there at the time.
Read the piece below and it clearly says, “There’s some debate over which version it will select when, for example, a track contains a sample.”
In those days Shazam was clearly offering a best guess. Which was very useful when cheating in pub quizzes.
You’ll also see that Shazam was making its money from ‘services’ because it knew full well it wouldn’t sell many CDs directly.
This is our absolutely favourite criticism from Squires. “Music is in our DNA – and always will be – the company’s move into television is a broadening of what it does rather than a pivot.”
Really? Perhaps she should have read what another one of her “bosses” said in the Sunday Times piece.
Brent Hoberman, who is a director with Shazam, is quoted as saying, “What started out as a niche service is now a big consumer product and advertising platform.”
“Andrew has transformed Shazam into one Britain’s biggest tech exports.”
Curious that the word “music” is conspicuous by its absence but the word “transformed” is present in that quote, then?
Anyway, Squires says, “Shazam cares very much about making sure that it always has a match whenever someone uses the app to discover a song they like.”
Well, that’s your model now but it didn’t used to be. Originally, Shazam fell into a class of services which WAP Insight described as ‘pub cheats’.
Basically, it was virtually impossible to buy a CD with a WAP phone but what you could do is start recording when the quiz master played a snippet of a song.
Then you added to it from your own memory by singing along to reach the full thirty seconds Shazam spent listening.
And it would work with pub bands playing a close approximation of a particular tune which was enough for the service to send a match.
We happen to know this because we were on the judging panel that awarded Shazam the prize (see below) in the first place.
Oh and one last point on the accuracy front, Ms Squires. At least we got Fisher’s job title right. He’s actually executive chairman.
Unless, he’s got his own entry in LinkedIn wrong, of course. The Sunday Times had him simply as “chairman” or “boss”.
More accurate than us, eh, Ms Squires?
Here’s the original WAP Insight story which you can still read online here.
WAP Insight Vol: 4 Issue 134 October 7th 2002
In Site of the Week (By Geoff Dennis)
This week… Shazam
This site won best new mobile service at the recent Mobile Choice awards. As they describe it, it tags music over your mobile phone. Place your phone in front of a loudspeaker playing music and Shazam will send you a text message containing the name of the artist and track. You can then buy the CD from their web site. This works on all UK networks but not on WAP yet: you dial 2580 and hold your phone in place for 30 seconds when you hear a tone. There’s some debate over which version it will select when, for example, a track contains a sample, and over the price (50p per tag plus 9p connection on Vodafone; a further 32p to send a songmail containing the track name). The same service is offered in France by Mobiquid [defunct] (WAP Insight 95) and StarCD [defunct] in America.