Back in late 2009, then-free music identifying service Shazam made a rather drastic change to their business model: they went freemium. Everybody got 5 free song identifications per month… but after that, they’d have to cough up for premium app, “Shazam Encore”.
That worked well enough for a while — then the competition rolled in, and gave away what Shazam was trying to charge for. Shazam responded with an experiment: they’d remove the tagging limits in their app, with a single “sponsor” covering their costs in exchange for ad placement — but only for Android, and only until the end of the year. Seems that worked well enough, as Shazam has just removed the tagging limits in their iOS and Android apps indefinitely.
Shazam’s launch partner in all of this is Capital One, so don’t be surprised if a B-list celebrity pops up to ask “What’s in your wallet?” every time you stumble out of the bar bathroom and try to ID the tail-end of that song that has been stuck in your head for four days. (Oddly, eBay was supposed to be sponsoring the Android side of things until 2012. What happened there?)
Both the iOS and Android apps should have their monthly limitations removed as of this morning.
As for the folks who already purchased the premium app: you’ll continue to get unlimited tagging, won’t be subjected to ads, have access to some fancy features like the auto-synced LyricPlay feature, and you get the warm, fuzzy (but nowadays rare) feeling that comes from actually, you know, paying for something.