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Building an App People Love - Keynote Talk by Josh Partridge, Shazam

May 25, 2017 Posted /  4623 Views

Building an App People Love - Keynote Talk by Josh Partridge, Shazam

Josh Partridge, Vice President — EMEA, LATAM & Canada, Shazam, has recently delivered a keynote talk at the 6th mobile conference MBLT17 organized by e-Legion that took place on April, 25 in Moscow. This article covers the major issues that Josh has presented: the success story, user acquisition tips, innovation strategies.

Shazam Story

Credit: Shazam

Probably no one remembers now how the Shazam story has started.  It was the old Nokia ringtone that was really where Shazam was born from. Users used to text 2580 and hold it up to sound and it would give you the lyrics of the song and then they were offered to buy the ringtone. 

Obviously, in 2007-2008 when the first iPhone was presented alongside with the App Store launch, things have drastically changed. Shazam has now managed to again be one of the first apps in the AppStore and continue to have one of the highest ratings in the App Store. And that’s really down to the product that we have created and the relationship we have built with our users that are now going on for nearly 10 years now.  It took us 10 years to get 1 billion shazams and now we do about a billion shazams every 4 to 5 weeks. And clearly, as smartphone penetration is growing massively around the world, so does the Shazam activity.

4 Buckets of Users

Credit: Shazam

'Lost soul'

- “Someone who downloads an app and they're not quite sure what it was for, they may have clicked on an ad and downloaded it and then they forget about it.”

This type of users can be considered as the most unwanted ones. What do you need to do to ensure that you do not attract 'lost souls'? If you follow a word-of-mouth strategy while attracting users, you may avoid having ‘lost souls’ users as well as Shazam does. 

Credit: Shazam  

Another key factor of avoiding ‘lost souls’ is to have a clear purpose of your app so that its functionality can be easily felt by your users.  “Most people only have 20 to 40 apps on their phone. They probably only remember half of them, so to get that mindset to create the habit of where a person is going to come back to your app time and time again you need to make sure that your experience, the function of your app creates a 'WOW' experience.” Otherwise, try to provide users with an ‘added value’ which can be presented in a form of additional content or features. 

Moreover, take care of educating your users and be sure that they know how your app and product works. Keep them updated about the recent innovations and features. Finally, be sure that users use your app within the first month they've downloaded it — retention rate matters! 

Credit: Shazam

‘Utilitarian' Users

— “someone who comes to your app once or twice a week, or once or twice a month.”

In reality, it is a very rare case to get super users that come to your app every couple of hours to have an experience. You do need to be happy to have those users who do it seldom as well. Think of how you can make such users come to your app more often. The key point here is your product features and your continued innovation which ideally will convert the 'utilitarian' user into the 'explorer'.


— “someone who comes to your app, doesn't just use the main function of the app, but looks for new things, new functions, new ways to use the product.”

These users shall be considered as super important due to several reasons. ‘Explorers’ help you to significantly improve your product. For example, you may notice some functions that they use that you have not thought about before.

Shazam strategy is to provide users with more opportunities to shazam: this is the best way to convert 'utilitarian user' to an 'explorer'. Data also matters a lot: watch what your users do and see what they see, the way they are engaging.


— even more than a super user, they share your content via social networks.

This sort of referral has significantly helped to drive massive amounts of new installs: the user not only claims that they like the content, but also the fact that the product is great. Make sure that sharing is a key component. This is not a revolutionary idea, but Shazam have taken it a step further.

There are many countries where Facebook actually is not the main social network. VK is the biggest Russian social network, so we moved VK to the talked about social network buttons and we saw a huge increase in likes and shares from our Russian users. Make sure your product can be shared, because sharing is the best way to get people to download your app.  

Credit: Shazam


Since the smartphones wave has started and the App Store was launched, Shazam has been integrating with every platform that the users use: smartphones, tablets, desktop, wearables, Smart TVs, etc.:

“We've integrated it with the Siri 8.0 release 18 months ago, so you could say “Hey, Siri, what's that song?” We've integrated it with the Google app, the same function 'OK, Google, what's that song? If someone wants an experience, where they want to find out what that song is, we want to make sure the technology that's used is Shazam. And that's really been the key focus.”

‘Beat Shazam’ & Snapchat Integration

Shazam is launching a program in the U.S. called 'Beat Shazam' on Fox hosted by Jamie Foxx and it's A Mark Burnett Production ( 'The Survivor' and 'The Apprentice' producer). 'Beat Shazam' in primetime — is something that obviously is slightly outside the digital innovation spectrum, but it is very cool for Shazam users and the brand.

Snapchat integration is the latest innovation: you can hold down the screen and Shazam will deliver a result and then give a Shazam experience within the Snapchat.

“Don't stand still, you have to continue to innovate. Don't be worried about losing your audience if you don't take an advantage of these new ways for people to connect.”

View the full talk to learn more about the Shazam music ecosystem and get some additional tips. 

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