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20 years of Shazam blowing people’s minds

The music-detecting app has risen with streaming music

LiFTED | Marcus Aurelius | 23 Agu 2022

The time is August 2002. In the UK, if you heard a song in a library, a pub, or a nightclub that you didn’t know, you could dial 2580, and hold your phone up towards the music source as the song played. Within seconds, you were then sent a text message, which was very new at the time, with the name of the song and the artist who sang the song. Twenty years ago, this technology blew people’s minds.

Two decades and 70 billion songs later, Shazam is still blowing people’s minds with the ability to find a song in seconds. This week, Shazam celebrates its 20th birthday by looking back at the major milestones it has had over the years, plus the many artists that have benefited from Shazam’s use.

Don't know it? Shazam it

Shazam has made a lot more music accessible to everyone. Before, if a DJ was playing an amazing track, but didn’t want to let people know what it was, they would be out of luck. Now, people can Shazam the track and add it to their playlist in seconds.

Shazam has also been able to find trends with its data and charts. If a song is getting big in Jakarta, it’s a given that within a few days, the song will be huge all over Indonesia. That may be a signal to an artist that it’s time to find a few shows to play for an Indonesian tour.

For unexpected pop culture moments, Shazam is a great barometer. When Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ played in Netflix’s Stranger Things earlier this year, the song skyrocketed to number one on the Shazam Global Top 200 charts and ended up on top of 25 national charts. This was an unprecedented occurrence because the song was first released in 1985.

Drake is the king of Shazam

Here are a few of the interesting facts about Hip Hop and Shazam from the past 20 years:

  • Drake is the most Shazamed artist of all time with 350 million Shazams. ‘One Dance’ is his most popular song, with 17 million Shazams.
  • ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley was the most searched-for song using 2580.
  • The most Shazamed Hip Hop song ever is Can’t Hold Us’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton.
  • Lil Wayne was the fastest artist to reach one million Shazams [2009] and 10 million Shazams [2011].