Shazam starts a music label with Warner Music

WMG and Shazam

In a first-of-its-kind deal, song-recognition company Shazam has partnered with Warner Music Group¬†(WMG) to create a new Shazam-branded music label, and to augment WMG marketing of existing artists with Shazam’s consumer-use data. The alliance was announced this morning in a Shazam press release.

Rob Wiesenthal, COO of Warner Music, called the new label subsidiary, “the first crowd-sourced, big-data record label.” Even as he sanctioned the data-driven approach to identifying and developing new artists, Wiesenthal protected the humans who populate WMG’s Artist & Repertoire (A&R) talent department: “While data and crowd sourced analyses will never be a substitute for the expertise and instincts of our A&R professionals, we do believe the information we obtain for this new label will provide very useful signals that will bolster our ability¬†to find the stars of tomorrow.”

Shazam claims 420-million users in 200 countries, who use Shazam mobile apps to identify music heard in real-world environments. (See RAIN’s past coverage of Shazam here.) Those use scenarios include pointing the app at a radio or television to identify a song, then exporting the result to Rdio (with which Shazam has a special arrangement) or another streaming service to listen again.

The Shazam/WMG partnership appears to be a two-pronged venture. First, the Shazam label will be a cultivating ground for unsigned artists whose music is generating searches and fan activity in the Shazam app. Second, WMG will have access to Shazam’s immense collection of data about all searched artists, many of whom are bound to be Warner acts. That information layer will help shape how Warner markets the acts and their recordings.

Shazam’s clout in delivering music recognition to fans made news in the recent Super Bowl halftime show, when 700,000 searches were conducted in Shazam during that short program. (Bruno Mars, star of the halftime show, is a Warner artist.) Earlier in the year, over one-million Shazam searches were launched during the televised Grammys show.


Brad Hill