MTV app takes on Shazam, Ticketmaster, Vevo in one

Viacom's erstwhile music channel launches an app that will recognize the song playing around you and prime you with bios to read, videos to watch, and tickets or songs to buy.

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Joan E. Solsman
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Views of the MTV Artists app. MTV

MTV, long ago the go-to place for music videos, has launched a music app that takes on elements of Shazam, Ticketmaster and Vevo.

The MTV Artists app, released Thursday, is the latest the Viacom network has rolled out after revamping the app infrastructure for all the Viacom music channels. It follows the release earlier this year of a separate MTV app that provides on-demand video of the reality and scripted programs that have become the mainstays of MTV's programming.

The MTV Artists app, however, is about music, and it's pooling the capabilities of a number of other apps in one place. MTV had thought about looping the new capabilities into its video app. But Dermot McCormack, head of connected content for Viacom Music, said users were clear they wanted two different experiences: one video, one music.

The new music app can identify songs by listening to music playing around you, similar to a Shazam or SoundHound, or users can search for an artist by name or lyrics. As the mobile extension of the channel's Artists.MTV.com site -- a sort of IMDb of music -- the app pulls up artist info-at-a-glance such as bios and recommendations of similar artists, as well as audio and video clips, including music videos. Some content will be exclusives from the artist, some artists' pages will have archive clips from MTV's vaults. So that throws in a dash of Vevo as well.

The video and music clips aren't meant to replace full tracks, though, as the app allows you to buy albums and single MP3s through iTunes. It also tells you where and when an artist is performing and enables you to buy tickets via Songkick and their partners within the app. That's MTV's answer to Ticketmaster, of course.

Advertising plays a part, too. Pepsi has the initial presence on the app at launch.

The Artists app is just on iOS devices at the moment. MTV's video app is poised to launch on Android devices soon, MTV said.