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The Entrepreneur Factor

Timing is essential when starting a new business. You need to make sure the service or product you plan to offer is in demand, but you also need to make sure the market isn’t already saturated or you could lose out to your competition. Introducing a product or service too early could also be detrimental to the success of your company. This could have been the case with start-up company Shazam. The company itself was started in 1999 in London by Chris Barton, Philip Inghelbrecht, Dhiraj Mukherjee and Avery Wang. Shazam’s service identifies songs that cell phone and smart phone users capture using their phones and provides the title, artist and purchasing information.

Shazam launched its first identification service in 2002, long before Apple introduced the iPhone and the smart phone industry took off. The service was only available to cell phone users in the United Kingdom. In order to use it, customers had to dial a four-digit code and hold the phone up to the speaker to capture a portion of the song. The service then matched the snipped to songs in their database of more than 11 million songs based on its acoustic fingerprint. The name of the song and the artist were then sent back to the customer via text message.

With the smart phone app market as hot as it is, Shazam now also offers an app for iPhone, Android and even Java compatible smart phones. Using the app, the customer simply launches the app and captures a portion of the song. The app then analyzes the song and reports the name of the song and the artist immediately. Links to iTunes and’s MP3 store are provided so users can purchase the song. A link to the video on YouTube is also provided if the video is available.

The company currently has more than 180 million users around the world and a staff of 150. They offer two different apps for consumers to download, one of which is a free app that allows users to tag up to five songs a day. The paid app costs around $5 or $6 and allows unlimited song tagging.



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