Kara Swisher

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Former Yahoo Exec Rich Riley Is New Shazam CEO: “For Next Stage of Growth and IPO”

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Shazam, the music discovery mobile app that is now calling itself a “media engagement” company, said it had hired former top Yahoo exec Rich Riley as its new CEO, with longtime CEO Andrew Fisher moving to executive chairman.

The London-based company — which reports that it has 300 million users in 200 countries around the world, including 90 million in the U.S. — said it made these moves to strengthen its leadership team and “position Shazam for next stage of growth and IPO.” Shazam also recently hired the BBC’s Daniel Danker as chief product officer.

“I look forward to extending our dominance in media engagement, from our roots in music to our leadership position in second-screen TV and want to ensure that Shazam is the company that helps people recognize and engage with the world around them,” said Riley in a statement.

It’s an unusual and interesting career move for Riley, who had been at Yahoo for more than 13 years. He was most recently EVP Americas for Yahoo, its most important unit, and before that was managing director and SVP of the Silicon Valley Internet giant’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region. The exec, who will be working out of Shazam’s New York offices, came to Yahoo when it bought a company he co-founded called Log-Me-On.com, which later became the Yahoo Toolbar.

This is Riley’s first gig as a CEO, although several sources said he had almost been recruited to be the CEO of performance advertising company Criteo. At Shazam, he will be charged with expanding and turbocharging the fast-growing app’s business from its roots in music to a range of other arenas.

As one of the more popular, though less flashy, apps on Apple iOS and Google Android, Shazam says it has more than 60 million monthly active users who install it on their smartphones to identify songs based on how they sound, via tagging of its 27 million tracks. Shazam said that drives $300 million in digital sales annually through affiliate partnerships with Apple iTunes and Amazon. Shazam gets a cut of these sales leads.

The company recently launched a TV service that has a range of features such as finding music in the broadcast, providing cast photos and a variety of other show information, and linking to sites with more information or to those with show-branded merchandise, previous episodes or the ability to rent or buy programming. Shazam is also offering a form of “clickable” advertising that links users to rich brand content, and is working on new tablet apps, too.

Whether all this activity translates into an IPO is to be determined, but that seems to be the aim.

Shazam is certainly well funded, having raised $32 million in the last round of funding from investors such as Kleiner Perkins, Institutional Venture Partners, Acacia Capital and DN Capital.


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