updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu September 29, 2011
Title now entirely ad-, affiliation-supported
Music ID service Shazam says it is switching back to a completely free model for iOS. In November 2009 the company introduced an app called Encore, which required a $5 annual subscription but let people create an unlimited number of tags, unlike the suddenly restricted free software. The free app is once again allowing unlimited tagging as a result of an ad deal with Capital One.
Encore will remain on sale since it has several advantages beyond eliminating ads, such as song lyrics. Encore has already dropped sharply in iOS sales charts since the updated free app was launched. Shazam may not be worried though; the ad income is likely small next to affiliate music sales, which amount to about $100 million per year. Shazam users are said to tag about four million songs per day, of which 8 to 10 percent translate into song sales that give the service a small revenue cut.
The company's CEO, Andrew Fisher, credits industry trends as allowing a shift toward ads. "All of this is possible due to the increasing maturity of mobile advertising and the strength of Apple’s iOS ecosystem," he says. "Because of these essential improvements, we can make this fundamental change to unlimited usage in our free app."