May 28, 2015 Last Updated 8:20 am

Shazam app introduces visual recognition capabilities as company expands to partnerships with global brands

The problem with so many apps is that they are one-trick ponies, designed to do one thing really well and that’s it. Trying to build a business around that one function is often hard, but many are able to do it.

Shazam-watchesShazam is the latest example. Its app, which was originally designed simply as a music identification app, but has expanded to inlcude film, advertising, TV and retail.

The company was as Shazam Entertainment Limited in 1999 by Chris Barton and Philip Inghelbrecht while students at UC Berkeley, and Dhiraj Mukherjee who was at a UK consulting firm. Their first iPhone app was released right when Apple first opened up the iPhone to third party apps in 2008, and the app has remained one of the most popular apps in the App Store ever since.

Clearly the company wants to show that its technology can be used for much more than simply identifying a new song. It will need to do this because it has received serious financial backing from the investment community: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Institutional Venture Partners, DN Capital, and Acacia Capital Partners.

Here is their latest announcement concerning their brand partnerships:

NEW YORK, NY – May 28, 2015 — Shazam today announced the introduction of visual recognition, new functionality that extends the company’s mobile engagement platform to create a world where everything from posters, to packaged goods, to print media, and more are transformed from static images into dynamic pieces of content. The company also announced a series of partnerships with leading brands around the world to Shazam-enable their products.

Starting today, users with the latest version of Shazam installed on their mobile phones can simply open the app and tap the new camera icon to start the visual experience. Whenever they wave their phone over any item with the Shazam camera logo on it or a QR Code, they’ll instantly get taken to custom mobile experiences including interactive content, special offers, and ability to purchase items or share them with others. This capability will live side-by-side with the existing Shazam audio functionality people rely on to discover new artists, catch up on favorite acts, listen to music, and use while watching TV.

With more than 100 million monthly active users, visual recognition within Shazam enables a near-frictionless way for brands to drive deeper, more impactful engagements with a massive audience in a single tap. Additionally, Shazam can build unique mobile experiences for these brands, eliminating the burdens associated with building and maintaining custom specialty apps. Select companies participating in the initial launch include:

United States:

  • The Walt Disney Company: Disney partnered with Shazam to create the world’s first visually Shazamable ad (for the Tomorrowland movie) and will continue to roll out visual Shazam-enabled content for upcoming movies. Disney Music Group will also be part of the visual Shazam rollout with content from their artists being Shazam-enabled.
  • Target: Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) is a leading retailer serving guests at 1,795 stores and at Target and Shazam are working together to make print and TV ads shoppable through your phone. By Shazaming these images, guests will be able to engage with additional content and shop featured products by linking to
  • HarperCollins Publishers: The second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, HarperCollins will be the exclusive book publisher at launch. Among the initial titles to be Shazam-enabled are: Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee; American Sniper, Chris Kyle; Daddy, Stop Talking!: And Other Things My Kids Want but Won’t Be Getting, Adam Carolla; The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Mitch Albom; Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots, John Markoff; Orphan Train,Christina Baker Kline; Welcome to Night Vale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor; The Greatest, Timbaland; The Illegal, Lawrence Hill; and The Golden Son, Shilpi Somaya Gowda.
  • Esquire: The original men’s magazine, Esquire published its first issue in 1933. It will publish its 1000th issue in October and make use of Shazam to link from its pages to Esquire’s complete digital archive and, in particular, to seminal stories from its past by writers such as Hemingway, Mailer, Roth, Wolfe and Talese. Esquire is a Hearst publication.
  • SELF: The print and digital destination for motivation and inspiration, SELF, a Condé Nast publication, is the leading authority for women focusing on fitness, wellness, beauty, and style. SELF will Shazam-enable select magazine features to provide readers with additional, special content
  • Time Inc: The media company with over 90 brands, including Time, People, Real Simple, and Entertainment Weekly will be participating in the launch, initially showcasing a Shazam-enabled feature from the iconic Sports Illustrated.
  • The Wall Street Journal: WSJ. Magazine is The Wall Street Journal’s luxury lifestyle publication. With 12 issues dedicated to the power and passions of the Journal’s global readership, WSJ.’s in-depth coverage spans fashion, design, food, architecture, travel and more. The magazine will partner with Shazam for its September 2015 Women’s Fashion issue.
  • Outfront Media: The US leader in out-of-home advertising. Outfront will Shazam-enable portions of their more than 400,000 digital and static displays in the most iconic and high-traffic locations in the top 25 markets across the nation.
  • BlueSoho: BlueSoho is an integrated marketing and technology firm that focuses on extending brand reach and engagement cross-media and cross-platform. Based on the dynamics of consumer behavior, they deliver brands in the most meaningful and relevant context to drive momentum and transaction. As part of their partnership with Shazam, BlueSoho’s Activation Team will Shazam-enable direct mail, magazines, and advertisements.
  • Merchbar: A site for people to discover and buy merch from all their favorite bands. Merchbar will be working with Nick Jonas and Meghan Trainor to offer Shazam-enabled merchandise, ticketing and content to fans in support of their upcoming US tours.

Rest of World:

  • The UK’s largest own brand, pure play fashion retailer combining cutting-edge design with an affordable price tag will Shazam-enable their print and out-of-home advertisements.
  • Guerlain: Based in France, House of Guerlain is one of the world’s oldest perfume houses. Guerlain will Shazam-enable their packaging and product advertisements.
  • Evian: Producer of mineral water from the French Alps, Evian will work with Shazam to enable print and outdoor advertisements appearing this summer in France and the UK.
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment: Warner Brothers is using Shazam to promote its upcoming Batman™: Arkham Knight video game for its June 24th Australian launch.
  • Southern Cross Austereo: Southern Cross Austereo is working with Shazam to implement its upcoming marketing activity with this new and exciting Shazam-enabled technology via outdoor and TV, enabling our audiences to engage with even more of our content directly from their mobile phones
  • Phenix Groupe: The French leader in outdoor advertising. Phenix Groupe and Shazam will work to Shazam-enable their billboard, furniture, and field marketing material

“The introduction of visual recognition is another step on our journey to extend the ways people can use Shazam to engage with the world around them,” said Rich Riley, Chief Executive Officer, Shazam. “For brands, we’re providing a near-frictionless way to engage customers on their mobile devices, with a single tap of a button.”

Visual recognition is developed in partnership with Digimarc. The first Shazamable ad, for Disney’s Tomorrowland Movie, was introduced to the public on May 22, and additional campaigns will begin rolling out next month. More information about using Shazam for visual recognition, including the ability to try it out, is available at

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