Quantcast
“Everything’s gotten so proportional now, and this is a metric we’re working on: How many Shazams for a spin?"

WE POINT OUR PHONE AT SHAZAM’S PETER SZABO

We asked Shazam SVP, Head of Music & U.S. Ad Sales Peter Szabo about the role of the tech giant’s data in predicting big hits. For some reason he agreed to talk to us.

Last year’s big Shazam discovery stories, he notes, included Nico & Vinz, Clean Bandit and Magic! Of the latter, he says, “Five white guys from Toronto doing reggae—if Shazam’s not there to reflect back that it’s reacting so well so immediately, does that song become a hit? Does it take longer?” In any case, he says, Shazam was an instant indicator of the track’s potential.

James Bay: “He came into our offices last spring with Ben Adelson, coming off of when Radio 1 had first played ‘Hold Back the River.’ They played it once, it spiked on Shazam and that started the whole story. It was immediate validation of how popular that song was. It was less than a day. Radio 1 keeps an eagle eye on those charts. They play a song, and if it doesn’t react on Shazam they just don’t play it as much anymore.

“Everything’s gotten so proportional now, and this is a metric we’re working on. How many Shazams for a spin? If a song doesn’t at least start at 20, it’s a different story. We’re not there yet.

“Look at the trajectory of Meghan Trainor. Sometimes it’ll take three months for a song to hit #1, and she spikes in over a few weeks. We have the history where we can say, 150, 100, 50, 25, 4-3-2…

“Natalie LaRose, a more recent one, got to #7 very quickly. When those songs move as quickly as they do they really cause you to pay attention. It’s our most recent example of a song spiking quickly, getting into the Top 10 and staying there.”

Rachel Platten: “Early, but already around 42. If you can get Top 50 before major airplay starts, that’s usually a pretty good sign. And that’s one of those empowering songs.”

Cam: “Got some decent early airplay and it’s moving pretty well. Hasn’t hit Top 200 because it’s country-specific and that takes a while. But I love her.”

Andy Grammer: “That’s a great one. That’s his first breakout that we’ve seen, and to be at #15 now is just fantastic. He performed for us in NY with Natalie LaRose a while ago, and he always uses the Shazam charts.”

OMI: “That’s gonna be this year’s Clean Bandit, it looks like. To get to #1 on the worldwide Shazam chart with virtually no U.S. airplay is pretty uncommon. That’s what we saw last spring with Clean Bandit, and it’s happening now with ‘Cheerleader.’ The story of how strong it is being a global #1 earns it a closer look than it might get otherwise.”

The value of Shazam as an indicator of a track’s potential at radio is well nigh undeniable. But is there a way to codify the relationship between airplay and listener tags? “This is a metric we’re working on,” Szabo confides. “How many Shazams for a spin? We’re not there yet.”

One thing’s for sure: With the firm’s ever-growing stockpile of data and more examples every day of instant listener response, Shazam’s value as a research tool is only likely to increase. And look for some intriguing new extensions of the app’s utility very soon.

1 TRENDING TOPIC:
OLIVIA’S LANE
Talk about an overnight sensation. (4/21a)
PRINCE, FIVE YEARS GONE: SOME PURPLE MUSINGS
His death continues to reverberate. (4/21a)
.PAAK PACTS WITH WARNER CHAPPELL
Anderson goes global. (4/21a)
U.K. LIVE BIZ ASKS FOR CONCERT CONTINGENCY FUND
A little help, please. (4/21a)
BLACK MUSIC MONTH FOREVER
We've got a plan. (4/21a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)