May 25, 2016

Which Hits Shazam Can Help You Spot Early

How Shazam Can Help You Predict Hits: Part 2

In our last post, we examined Shazam’s track record of predicting hits, finding that 94% of the songs that rise to Shazam’s Top 10 ultimately become at least Top 30 hits. However, we also found a wide variation in exactly how early Shazam can spot tomorrow’s huge hits.

In this post, we break down which kinds of songs Shazam can help your station spot early: Compared to the biggest songs on American radio in 2015, as tallied on Billboard Magazine’s Radio Songs Year End 2015 chart, which songs specifically did Shazam predict would become hits? Below are examples of songs that emerged on Shazam’s Top 10 weeks before making it to the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 10.


Based on its track record in 2015, Shazam can help spot hits that are sonically at the edges of CHR’s typical sound. Shazam is particularly effective at helping spot EDM/Dance-oriented songs well over a month before they become big hits on traditional charts:

Blog 2 EDM and Dance image

Shazam can also spot hits beyond Dance, outside CHR’s sonic norm:

Blog 2 beyond Dance


Shazam can also help spot cross over hits from other formats, especially Alternative and Hot AC:

Blog 2 Crossover

HITS IN 2016

So far in 2016, Shazam has been able to spot several early hits that fall into these categories of being outside of CHR’s typical pop-oriented sound:

Blog 2 2016


To understand why Shazam spots the early hit potential of these specific songs, it’s important to understand why people Shazam a song in the first place. People Shazam a song because they want to know the name of a song and who performs it. For EDM and Dance tracks where the DJ is the star, it is often impossible to identify them based on the vocals, whereas a well-known Pop star may be easier to identify by ear. A big Shazam response for a song only airing on Alternative or Hot AC can indicate a song has broader appeal beyond the format that introduced it, particularly if it’s a new artist.

The key thing to keep in mind is that people don’t Shazam a song because they want to hear it; they Shazam a song because they want to know the artist and title of the song.  Once listeners know a song’s name and artist, they stop Shazaming, no matter how much they love the song.  That’s why Shazam cannot tell you when a hit song has run its course with your audience the way customized new music research can. This distinction not only explains why Shazam is effective at spotting certain styles of songs early, it also explains why Shazam fails to detect other styles of songs just as early.

In our next post, we’ll examine what kinds of songs Shazam doesn’t spot early, as well as discuss why relying on Shazam as your only way to spot big hits early could be a mistake.

One thought on “Which Hits Shazam Can Help You Spot Early”

  1. Pingback: How Shazam Can Help You Predict Hits | That Eric Alper

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