Everything you need to know about the Apple-owned music identifying app, including how to get your own tracks on Shazam for free.

Shazam is a free application that identifies music, movies, TV shows and adverts, based on a short sample using the device’s microphone. It’s a super easy way to find out what song is playing on the TV, radio, restaurant, gym or social media.

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How to upload to Shazam and make my music findable

routenote stores distribution

While Shazam offers a different service from most of our other partner stores and streaming services, the process of getting your music on the service is exactly the same, and couldn’t be easier. Next time someone hears your song, all they need to do is pull out their phone and tap the big blue button. Within seconds, your next big fan can be streaming or buying your song.

Distributing with RouteNote is non-exclusive, meaning even if you distribute your music elsewhere, you can still use RouteNote to take advantage of our extra stores and exclusive features.

Follow these simple steps to get your music on Shazam:

When you choose to distribute to iTunes & Apple Music, your music will be sent to Apple’s download store – iTunes, their streaming service – Apple Music, and their music identifying app – Shazam.

As Shazam doesn’t sell music or stream full tracks, they don’t pay artist royalties themselves. That being said, Shazam is still recommended for all artists, as the benefits come in music discovery. Song recognition often translates to a full stream via a music streaming service or better yet, a new fan.

What is Shazam

Shazam is a mobile application that leverages advanced music recognition technology to identify songs playing in your environment. Users can open the app on their smartphone and tap a button to allow Shazam to listen to the ambient music. The app quickly analyses the audio, compares it to a vast database, and then provides the user with the name of the song and the artist. This tool enables users to explore new music and learn more about the artists behind the songs they encounter.

Read on and we’ll answer all of your questions for you.

How did Shazam start?

Shazam has quite an interesting history. Starting out in London way back in 2002, before third-party mobile applications became what they are today, Shazam initially launched as a phone-in service. Those looking to identify the music around them would call 2580. After 30 seconds, the call would automatically hang up. A few moments later, the artist and track title would be sent via text message.

It wasn’t until 2006 that Shazam launched as an application. In 2008, they debuted on the iPhone as one of the first applications in the App Store. In 2011, the app extended their features to let users Shazam TV programs and ads to access special offers and more information.

In 2009, Shazam had ten million downloads across 150 countries. By 2012, the application had tagged five billion songs, TV shows and advertisements, and won multiple awards. Despite all of this success, Shazam didn’t make a profit until 2016, via various subscription models and ads. In 2018, it was acquired by Apple for a reported $400 million. Today the app is responsible for one billion song results every month and has surpassed 2 billion lifetime installs. In August 2022, Shazam turned twenty years old, while celebrating 70 billion song recognitions and more than 225 million monthly users. They put together an Apple Music playlist of the most Shazamed song of each year.

As it stands, the application doesn’t show any ads or have any subscription tiers. So how does Shazam make money? Well it doesn’t… not directly anyway. Instead, Shazam acts as a means for Apple to sell Apple Music subscriptions. While you can stream/buy an identified song on various stores and streaming services, Shazam pushes users to sign up to Apple Music throughout the application and website via various promos. Shazam also enables DJ mixes on Apple Music, while ensuring each artist and label receive their fair share of the revenue.

How does Shazam work?

Shazam employs a technology that analyzes the audio fingerprints of songs to identify them. When a user captures a snippet of music, the app processes this sample by comparing it against a vast database of audio fingerprints. This allows their app to recognize and match the song accurately.

Even covers of songs will have a unique fingerprint to the original. When Shazam takes a recording of the song it analyses the song’s characteristics to find its digital fingerprint.

When Shazam finds a match, it displays the track and artist name. Shazam will additionally present you with information like time-synched lyrics, the artist’s biography, concert tickets, and recommended tracks.

The basic features of Shazam

The layout of the mobile app couldn’t be easier to use. The Shazam logo sits in the center of the screen. Simply tap the “S” and hold your microphone close to the audio source. Within a few seconds, the song title and artist name will be generated.

Shazam offers options to stream the track or add to a playlist on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, YouTube or YouTube Music on Android devices. Results are saved in the app, allowing you to come back at a later point to save the track to your playlist.

Holding down the “S” logo will enable Auto Shazam. This allows you to dismiss the app whilst it continues listening to and identifying songs. All identified songs will be saved to the app. This is a great option if you want to save all songs heard in a TV show, film or while out and about.

Tap the search icon to see country and city charts. These show the most-Shazamed songs and artists around the world. You can filter charts by country, city and genre. Discovery shows tracks and artists on the rise, based on recent Shazams.

How to use Shazam

Shazam is available on the web, iOS, iPadOS, macOS, Apple Watch, Android, Wear OS and a Chrome Extension.

As well as using the app, iPhone and iPad users can add a Shazam control in Control Center. This is a great way to find what song is playing in another app. As of last year, Control Center has been used to find over one billion songs. Android users can use Pop-Up Shazam when in other apps to identify tracks. Apple device owners can also use Siri to identify songs by simply saying like “Hey Siri, what song is this?”

Shazam is also built into Snapchat. Simply hold down your finger on the camera screen and tap Discover a song. Much like the usual app, this will display song information, or you can send your result to a friend. You can find recently canneded tracks in settings, under MY ACCOUNT.

Last year Apple built ShazamKit to help developers easily integrate the music recognition technology into their own app. One such app to integrate Shazam recently was djay.

If Shazam isn’t working as it’s supposed to, try these helpful tips.

How does Shazam compare with the competition

While it’s undoubtedly the most popular, there are some other music identification apps, such as SoundHound and Musixmatch. Other apps that can identify music include Anghami with ACRCloud, WhoSampled with DNA, and Deezer with SongCatcher.

Google and Google Assistant apps can identify music being played or you can even hum, whistle or sing the melody. You can then share the song, watch the video on YouTube or add it to a YouTube Music playlist.

How does Shazam present lyrics and music videos?

Shazam manages song lyrics and music videos by incorporating them into its extensive database, allowing users to not only identify songs but also to view the lyrics and watch the corresponding music videos. This integration enhances the user experience by providing a more immersive music discovery process.

The data for lyrics and videos is likely sourced and synchronized with tracks as they are identified, ensuring that users have immediate access to these features once a song is recognized by the app.

Shazam lyrics

How Shazam generates its music charts and their significance

Shazam creates its music charts by counting how often each song is identified by users through its app. The frequency with which a song is ‘shazamed’ determines its position on the charts, with songs that are identified more frequently ranking higher. They offer several charts, such as a global chart that lists the top 200 tracks worldwide, in addition to charts specific to different countries and cities that showcase popular tracks in those areas.

These rankings are not only indicative of a song’s current popularity but are also used by broadcasters and music industry professionals to predict which songs might become hits. Furthermore, for music artists, being featured in their charts can be crucial for exposure and can help in getting their music discovered by new audiences, making Shazam a critical platform in the music industry.

How users can integrate Shazam with music apps like Apple Music and Spotify

In addition to identifying songs, Shazam provides numerous enhancements to enhance user experience. Once a song is identified, the app not only displays the title and artist but also suggests various streaming platforms where the song can be listened to. This makes it easier for users to access and enjoy music across different services.

Users have the ability to integrate Shazam with popular music streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify. To do this, one must first link their Shazam account to their preferred streaming service account within the app’s settings. Once connected, any song identified in the app can be directly accessed on these platforms, allowing users to easily add tracks to their playlists, listen to full songs, and explore more music from the same artists.


Once a song has been Shazamed, you can tap the artist name to view details such as a bio, upcoming concerts, similar artists, as well as more songs, albums and playlists from the artist.

How to customize your Shazam artist profile

Shazam artist profiles are synched with Apple Music artist profiles. Simply sign up for Apple Music for Artists to customize your artist profile. From that hub you can edit your image and bio to keep your brand up to date.

Artists receive notifications through email when their music is featured on Shazam Charts. You can opt-in to these notifications in your Apple Music for Artists settings.

On Fire is a notification that your music is seeing a huge boost in a particular region, heading for the top of the charts. On The Rise is for worldwide engagement, showing you gaining popularity everywhere.

You’ll also receive a notification if a certain place is creating traction for your song. You’ll receive a ‘Reacting’ notification for this excitement.

Use Bandsintown to add tour dates to your Shazam artist profile.

How can artists check if their music is in the Shazam database?

To ensure artists have their music included in the Shazam database, they should initially focus on distributing their music through platforms that Shazam partners with. This typically includes major music distribution services that cater to a wide range of streaming platforms.

How to Shazam Any Song Playing on Your Headphone on iPhone - The Mac  Observer

By selecting a distributor like RouteNote that has a direct relationship with Shazam, artists can make sure that their tracks are discoverable and identifiable through the app, expanding their reach and accessibility to new listeners who use the app to identify music.

Artists looking to verify whether their tracks are present in the Shazam database can do so by utilizing the app itself. Simply play your music and use the app to identify it, just as a user would when discovering new songs. If Shazam recognizes your track, it is included in their database. If it does not, there may be additional steps you need to take to ensure your music is registered and recognizable.

What kind of analytics can artists access on Apple Music for Artists?

Once your profile is synchronized with Apple Music for Artists, you can keep track of how many Shazams your songs are getting. Take a deeper dive to see where the Shazams of your content are coming from and the demographics of the people who are finding your songs through the app.

You can also see the countries and regions in which listeners are Shazaming you the most. This data is great for getting to know where you should focus your promotion and even booking concerts, knowing where you have an audience of interested listeners.

By beginning with these analytics, you are equipped to make informed decisions that enhance your visibility and engagement with listeners globally.

How artists can update their profile image on Shazam

To update their profile image on Shazam, artists need to follow specific guidelines: they must ensure the new image meets the platform’s resolution and format standards, adheres to content appropriateness rules, and represents the artist or their brand accurately.


Artists also might need to verify their identity or demonstrate control over their catalogue. Consult Shazam’s official artist support page for detailed instructions and any updates to the requirements.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up to RouteNote and upload your music to Shazam, Apple Music, iTunes and all other major stores, streaming services and social media platforms, today, free of charge!