Shazam, which has long been helping users identify songs, artists, and albums on other mobile platforms like the iPhone, BlackBerry phones, Nokia phones, and Android devices, now makes itsdebut as a freemium application. That is, anyone can use the basics for free, but a few more-advanced features will cost you.
Here's what you can do for free: When you activate Shazam and hold the phone near the source of the recorded music, the app checks the sample against Shazam's online database and returns suggestions to you. The app also leads you to opportunities to buy the song if you'd like. You'll get five chances a month to identify songs.
A one-time fee of $4.69 gets you unlimited searches, called "tagging" in Shazam's lexicon. The premium version, called Shazam Encore, also features popularity charts for all songs tagged by all users, artist and band bios, a discography, and music and albums reviews. It will also include an Amazon-like recommendation feature that suggests songs based on your other preferences.
Shazam's freemium model is the first the company has attempted , though CEO Andrew Fisher notes that Shazam is sold as a premium app in 70 percent of its worldwide markets. Factoring in exchange rates, Shazam sells for the equivalent of $5 on most platforms. So does a major mobile competitor, Midomi, which already offers a rival product (that also lets you hum or sing a tune) on the same mobile platforms. In fact, Midomi costs $4.99 in the Windows phone marketplace.
Music lovers will get to try Shazam Encore for free on Windows phones. After seven days, they can pay to upgrade or can continue using the basic features five times a month. Fisher told us that Shazam users tag an average of 10 songs per month.
Shazam will roll out to the Windows Marketplace for Mobile in English in 30 countries, with multilanguage support expected to follow some weeks later. It wasn't in our Marketplace at the time of writing, but we'll keep you posted.
Related: See how Shazam works on iPhone.