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Music recognition service targets mobile users

What the hell is the name of that track?

Getcha getcha ya ya da da (hey hey hey)... You know it’s by Christina Aguilera, but you can’t quite place the track.

No problem. Not now UK-based Shazam, a company offering a music recognition service for mobile phone users, has signed a two year deal with record label BMG. The German music giant includes the pop diva (pictured) among thousands of other top acts on its roster of starlets.

The deal grants Shazam the necessary copyright licenses for the entire BMG catalogue, including music from Artista Records and RCA to use 30-second audio clips of BMG music.

Shazam cut a similar deal with AIM (Association of Independent Music) back in May, granting it copyright licenses to use clips of music from its catalogue.

The company claims to have developed what is believed to be the world's first real-time song identification service, and is currently only available in the UK.

When customers hear a song they like but can't identify, they simply dial a short code (2580) let their handsets capture the music (for example, by holding the mobile to a radio speaker), wait 15 seconds while Shazam's patent-pending technology listens to the music and then receive an SMS identifying the track and artist.

Shazam refers to the identification process as "tagging" and can tap into a database comprising over 1.5 million songs.

Although the music industry has grown tough on digital rights protection, it generally views Shazam as a means to promote its products without having to give them away for free.

Mobile operators, too, are showing interest because a premium wireless information like Shazam's keeps users on the phone and isn't cheap. It costs 50p per identified song and revenue is split between the operators and Shazam.

All four major operators offer the service: O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

Of course you could always make a note of the lyrics, type them into Google when you next have internet access, and establish the name of the track without paying a penny. But then it’s horses for courses. (By the way the name of the song was Lady Marmalade.)


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