When multiple groups start offering up services that most folks would see as mostly indistinguishable, it gets harder and harder for any of’em to bring home the bacon. Take music recognition/identification services, like SoundHound and Shazam, for example. Each has their own perks, and I’m sure both parties would debate the merits of their respective Song ID’ing algorithm to the death — but when it really comes down to it, most people downloading either wouldn’t know (or care to know) the differences.
Before you know it, the race to the bottom is on. Each service starts offering up more and more freebies in hopes of keeping their overall userbase climbing, while they all duke it out to find alternative means of bringing in revenue. Well, it looks like SoundHound has found one: hardware partnerships.
This morning, SoundHound is announcing a global partnership with HTC. As part of the deal, HTC will be putting SoundHound on a bunch of their future Android devices, beginning with the Desire HD and Desire Z.
The terms of the deal weren’t revealed (we’re digging!) — but if they’re following the standard procedure here, SoundHound is probably making a few cents per handset sold. That may not sound like much, but remember: this is something SoundHound already built, and the vast majority of these users likely never would have discovered the service on their own. Even if they’re only making 10 cents per handset, that’s 100,000 bucks per million handsets sold… and they get a million new people exposed to their service.
It’s unclear right now whether HTC will be bundling the full version of SoundHound (which usually costs $5.00), or the free version, which is limited to 5 songs identified per month. While I’m assuming it’s the former, we’ve asked SoundHound for a bit of clarification.