Everything you need to know about the Apple-owned music identifying app, including how to get your own tracks on the platform 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.
Click below to jump to one of the following:
- How to upload to Shazam and make my music findable
- What is Shazam
How to upload to Shazam and make my music findable
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:
- Create a free RouteNote account
- Head to the Distribution tab in the top left corner and choose Create New Release
- Enter your release details, metadata, and upload your tracks and artwork
- On the Manage Stores page, tick iTunes & Apple Music
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, Shazam themselves don’t pay artist royalties. That being said, Shazam is still recommended for all artists, as the benefits come in music discovery. An identification on Shazam often translates to a full stream via a music streaming service or better yet, a new fan.
What is Shazam
How did Shazam start out? How does it work? How do I use Shazam? Are there any alternatives? We hope to answer all of these questions and more 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, Shazam 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, Shazam 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. Shazam 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?
When you want to identify a song, your device’s microphone picks up the sample and a digital audio fingerprint is created. Shazam then attempts to match this 10 second sample with one of millions of songs in its database. If successful, the track and artist will be displayed, alongside information such as 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, your track and information will be displayed, with 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. With Auto Shazam, you can dismiss the app and Shazam will continue listening out for 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. Shazam is also integrated into Siri. Just say something 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 Shazam app, this will display song information, or you can send your result to a friend. You can find recently Shazamed tracks in settings, under MY ACCOUNT – Shazam.
Last year Apple built ShazamKit to help developers easily integrate Shazam’s technology into their own app. One such app to integrate Shazam recently was djay.
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.
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 do I take control of my artist profile on Shazam and find in-depth statistics?
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, as well as details on how many Shazams your tracks have, where your listeners are, plus your charted and trending songs.
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!