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Shazam has gotten a lot of mileage out of its music tagging application, which has been snapped up by 165 million users since launching in 2008. But now the company is rolling out its first new app, called Shazam Player, a free replacement for the iOS (s aapl) music player that provides a deep set of features, including synced lyrics, social sharing, smart playlists, bios and more.
Shazam isn’t just content to help people recognize music on the fly; it now wants to be at the heart of people’s everyday listening experience. It is applying some of the lessons gleaned from its audio identification experience to a user’s existing music library, giving them a more interactive and powerful experience with their own media.
“This is a replacement for the music player on iOS devices. We have great technology and features we can wrap around any track, but it’s been so far limited to music you can discover out and about. We thought we’d bring the feature set and technology to music you have on the device already,” said David L. Jones, Shazam’s EVP of marketing.
The most eye-catching feature is LyricPlay, which was first introduced on the Shazam app back in June after Shazam bought Tunezee. Instead of accessing lyrics while tagging a song, now users can pull up lyrics for many popular songs in their own library. Jones told me last month that there were about 50,000 songs available for LyricPlay, which requires licenses from the rights owners.
Shazam Player will also feature social sharing on Twitter and Facebook, fulfilling some of the promise of what Ping was supposed to do for iTunes. There is also quick access to related YouTube (s goog) videos, concert and ticket information, as well as bios and reviews about artists.
Shazam Player also tries to help people discover more music with a “top tracks” feature that lists top songs with LyricPlay functionality. Users can buy songs from the list using links to iTunes. Likewise, people can browse artists in their library on iTunes to discover more albums from their favorites. There is also a playlist function, so users can choose their favorite songs but also hide ones they don’t want to hear. Shazam has included a button that launches the original Shazam app for music tagging, but for now, the two apps will remain separate. Jones said the company is looking to see how the stand-alone app performs. It will get help from a cross-promotion link in the original Shazam app. An Android app is in the works for the near future.
It will be interesting to see how many people take up Shazam Player as their main music player. I have been turning to Spotify lately, so I don’t play much from my own iPhone library. Shazam has a deal with Spotify to play tagged music via Spotify in Shazam’s premiums apps, so that alternative is already covered. I like my fair share of karaoke, so I do think I would get some use of out of LyricPlay, though it sounds like it wouldn’t cover many of the tunes in my library. SoundHound has a much larger selection of songs in its LiveLyric feature on its music recognition app.
But being able to share my music and interact with it more does seem appealing and like something Apple should consider for future versions of iOS. It has a way to paste in lyrics through iTunes; and it tried to get more social with Ping, but there is still a lot of room to grow, especially as apps like Spotify raise the expectations of what you can do with music.