Shazam Says Super Bowl Audio Tagging Was a Win

Shazam Predicts 2013 Chart Toppers

Shazam Predicts 2013 Chart Toppers

shazam super bowl
This is a still frame from Best Buy's Super Bowl commercial, featuring the Shazam audio-tagging app.

During yesterday's Super Bowl, the music-tagging app Shazam, which has been making inroads into television programming, helped approximately half of the game's advertisers link their ads to exclusive songs by the Interscope artists who performed during the halftime show, car giveaways, and other additional content.

When we first heard about this plan, it started us thinking: Are audio tags the new QR codes -- a new set of links from the offline world to the online world? The answer appears to be "so far, so good."

Shazam sends word that its large-scale experiment in Super Bowl audio tagging led to "record engagement," with football fans tagging content millions of times during the game, the half-time show, and advertisements ( full list here).

"The Super Bowl was our first major live network television event where we enabled people to interact with all aspects of the game, including the ads and the spectacular halftime show," said Shazam CEO Andrew Fisher. "Knowing the size of the Super Bowl audience, we had high expectations for how many people would be engaged during the event and with the numbers in the millions we were blown away."

In public relations-ese, "numbers in the millions" could mean as little as 1,000,001 tags in this context. By comparison, the average tweets-per-second about the game -- TPS for short -- reached 9,420, according to Twitter, marking a new record for sporting events. That means that the number of tweets about the game might have eclipsed the number of Shazam tags in a mere 106 seconds.

Still, tweeting about the game and tagging audio with a phone are obviously different activities, and audio tagging is still a new thing for many people. Even if Shazam only barely broke a million tags, that's still pretty impressive.

Up next for Shazam's television strategy: the Grammy awards, which offers even more opportunities for tying the offline and online worlds together -- this time with music as the focus.