Listen up! Shazam shares our 2013 stats, and makes some bold 2014 predictions

best songs to stream 8 5 2016 action bronson shazam
Action Bronson, an enigmatic sous chef and rapper from Queens, is one of Shazam's picks to rise to the top in 2014. (Photo: Sidney Bernstein)

Shazam, the magical app that tells you what music is playing, released a set of predictions for breakthrough artists in 2014. The Shazam music team created a pool of potential artists based on their tastes, and then used quantitative data to rank them, creating a list of artists you may not know now, but who they believe will achieve fame in the next year.

But before we drive into some 2014 predictions, we have to look back on 2013.

The most Shazamed songs

You probably don’t remember 2013 by the songs you went around Shazaming, but the platform sure does. All of the most Shazamed songs are pretty obvious; most of them also fall in the biggest hits of summer category – like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (17.8 million Shazams worldwide) and Lorde’s “Royals” (9.4 million).

Of course, you can’t talk about breakout music stars of 2013 without mentioning Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Hits “Thrift Shop” (13.6 million), “Can’t Hold Us” (11.9 million), and “Same Love” (3 million – but that’s the U.S. only) saw a lot of Shazam love.

shazamSome surprises – by the numbers

But there were also a few much-Shazamed songs that could surprise:

Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” was Shazamed 14.7 million times, even though it was only relatively recent released (that makes it the second most Shazamed song this year).

Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” was Shazamed 11.8 million times … and I had to think pretty hard for a second here to remember that song at all.

Passenger’s “Let Her Go” was Shazamed 9.2 million times (which I am uncertain I’ve heard … but hey, I guess that confusion is exactly why people Shazam.)

Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” was Shazamed 3.2 million times … but only in the U.S. It didn’t break the top 10 for the rest of the world. Apparently everyone else knows Imagine Dragons when they hear it, or don’t care for the band. 

International difference of opinion

There were a handful of differences between what U.S. and international listeners were Shazaming. Avicii and Daft Punk had more users the globe-over Shazaming, while Calvin Harris and Drake proved more popular stateside than elsewhere. The universal Shazam-worthy subjects? Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Justin Timberlake fell in the number one and number nine spots, respectively, on the U.S. and global lists of most-Shazamed artists.

TV shows that inspire us to Shazam

Obviously, music award shows get us Shazaming, but the app was able to track certain TV episodes to breakout hits. For instance, Breaking Bad got 43,000 people to Shazam Bad Finger’s “Baby Blue,” and The Walking Dead caused 300,000 to tag Ben Howard’s “Oats in the Water.”

Other shows that made us whip out our phones include Grey’s Anatomy, Family Guy (really?), Glee (obviously), and Sons of Anarchy.

So … what about next year?

Action Bronson, a Wu-Tang influenced rapper and former chef from Queens, is one of the artists to watch — and anyone who heard his mixtape “Rare Chandeliers” or his EP “Saab Stories” understands why he’s poised to break out. Rappers Kid Ink and Rich Homie Quan also made the list, as did singer August Alsina, whose track “I Luv This Shit” made the list of Most Shazamed Tracks in 2013. (As you can tell, Shazam is trying to make the verb “shazamed” happen and I’m OK with it.) Enigmatic pop singer Banks is cited as one to watch, as is London soul singer Sam Smith. Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale’s second career as a country star is looking auspicious, and Shazam thinks Dutch DJ Martin Garrix is going to have a big 2014.

Just to make things convenient, you can listen in right here. 

These artists have reason to believe in the power of Shazam’s predictions — the company correctly used data analyses to anoint Lana del Ray, A$AP Rocky, and Haim as artists to watch before they broke through. The company also correctly predicted that Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s ubiquitous “Blurred Lines” would qualify as “Sounds of Summer.”

Of course, it’s impossible to predict everything that will happen in music, and while Shazam has a strong track record, it’s not perfect. Shazam didn’t quite predict the expansive success of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who had three of the most Shazamed songs in 2013, nor did it see Lorde’s “Royals” coming. Plus, the algorithm is basically just what’s getting tagged, what’s trending, and what the editors like — it’s not some precise formula. So while the music discovery tool can use its data as a prediction engine for artists already on their way up, it certainly can’t predict everything.

Shazam is a remarkable app, and it will be interesting to see how many of its predicted stars rise in 2014. As the service continues to grow in popularity and its data analysis becomes more sophisticated, I’m eager to see whether the company will get even more accurate at predicting who will blow up as a musician.

Social Media

Twitter boss again teases the idea of a button to edits tweets

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has suggested the company is still looking at options for allowing people to edit tweets. Ideas include a function that gives you up to 30 seconds to recall a tweet before it goes live on the service.

Take some time to reminisce with the 25 best Sega Genesis games of all time

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.

The 25 best love songs on Spotify for your wooing pleasure

Valentine's Day comes but once a year, but love is forever. If you're hoping to impress your significant other -- or if you're trying to procure one -- we put together a list of the best love songs for your wooing pleasure.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Social Media

‘Instagram egg’ embarks on a new adventure as man behind it is unmasked

The Instagram egg made global headlines recently after it became the most-liked post on the photo-sharing app. The person behind the account has now been revealed, as has his reason for choosing an egg for the stunt.
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.