shazam-logoNot being able to grab the name of a particular artist or song playing on the radio is frustrating to say the least. The frustration turns to sadness or anger when the song ends and blends into another as the DJ neglects to mention any info on the song you so desire. Sucks, I know. Then there was Shazam. An amazing iPhone app that looked nice, worked well, and was simple to use. Besides simple bug fixes and a small performance boost here and there, Shazam has remained rather unchanged. The dry stretch of updates wasn’t for naught however as Shazam has officially announced their premium offering, “Shazam Encore” that will is now available in the App Store for $5 USD. At first, having to pay for a previously free service seems like a no go, that us until you read into the details of this new update.

Besides faster tagging, Shazam now offers recommendations for helping you discover new music, displaying the most popular (read: most tagged songs), and a “car mode” that helps you identify songs on the radio. Before you write off car mode as some gimmick, take note that it’s actually pretty useful. When in Car Mode and upon placing your iPhone in it’s dock, the phone will automatically start tagging songs on the radio. A handy and welcome feature for sure. But is faster tagging and car mode along with a couple other minor additions worth $5? For some it’s more than worth it. For others, they see the free offering which is and will stay available along side it’s pricier sibling, as the better alternative.

About Shazam freebie edition — as already mentioned, it’s going to remain available. However, anyone new to Shazam free will be limited to 5 tags/month. Ya, not exactly very handy now is it. Granted, I only hear a song I don’t know the name to and actually want to maybe once or twice per month. Though others I’m sure will find this 5 tag limit a problem. I can understand giving users a premium option with enticements for upgrading, but neutering a previously free, well featured app by artificially limiting it and taking that neutered feature and simply slapping a price tag on it seems sort of backwards if you ask me. Thoughts?

[Press Release]