A Tour Around Facebook’s Shazam Service


Facebook has launched an audio recognition service for its iOS and Android app users, could it benefit musicians?

Social media giant Facebook is forever changing its algorithms, its layout and adding new features, so it’s not all that surprising that we have yet another change to contend with. A few short weeks ago Facebook announced the launch of its latest feature called Audio Recognition which according to Facebook product manager Aryeh Selekman, was built by a small team over the course of a year.

It’s a feature that mimics Shazam and will allow iOS and Android users to identify what song is playing or even what film or series is on TV by using your phone’s microphone and then automatically updating it to your status—or it will appear one click away in the “Feelings” tab. (For all those who secretly enjoy listening to One Direction in the comfort of your home, this could pose as a problem.

“You may have seen a friend post a photo after a tough workout with a ‘feeling proud’ icon.” Selekman revealed via a blog post, “Or you’ve seen your friend check in at a coffee shop ‘drinking an iced coffee’. In the last year, people shared more than 5 billion status updates that included these kinds of feelings and activities, sparking conversations with friends in a more visual way.”

“Today, we’re making those conversations quicker and easier by introducing a new way to share and discover music, TV and movies.”

Firstly, if you are located outside of the U.S. then for now, Audio Recognition is not available for you because Facebook has only begun it’s implementation in the U.S. and will gradually roll out further in the coming weeks. According to The Verge, it can currently only recognize 160 TV channels, a few million songs and it battles to pick up the music in commercials.

However, the app has made it clear that it has its limits and when you turn on the feature you are welcomed with this message: “We can’t identify background noise and conversation. Sounds are only used to find a match and are never stored.”

It all sounds pretty smart, but the question is: does Facebook’s new music tagging service actually benefit DJs?

The app is an extension of Facebook’s “Feelings” feature and in all honesty, it seems as though its a socially-led gimmick whose aim is to draw attention to Facebook’s music, film and TV pages. It does this by including a link to the corresponding page when you update your status.The trade-off is that this feature is adding to the thick file of information that Facebook has already collected about you.

The app may allow you to share content more easily, but it’s also allowing Facebook to listen in on and collect information on the content its users are interested in and marketers are even more interested in. They already know what you’re watching, hearing, doing, feeling, dating, following… and now the list goes on.

However, Audio Recognition does have some merit, the technology has been created in-house and it offers musicians a new platform to showcase their latest work and share it with friends and followers by allowing them to listen to a 30-second preview of the song that you’ve shared. This will offer musicians better exposure and increase their chances of being discovered by potential new fans, once the service has matured.

It is important to note that the app is “opt-in” and will only work if you have turned it on, and it will remain on until you turn it off. If you choose to turn the feature on, then you will see an audio icon moving on the screen and if the app recognizes what you’re listening to it will share it quickly and easily, without needing to type anything.

Will you be enabling Facebook’s latest feature?

Cailyn Cox

Cailyn Cox is a 24-year-old freelance writer who used to love hardcore rock music, until she joined JustGo and discovered the vast umbrella covering the EDM scene.

She loves everything loud and fast and her words are guaranteed to get your heart beating at a140 beats per minute.