MTV Co-Founder John Sykes joins Shazam's Board

Shazam, which now calls itself a mobile discovery company after broadening out beyond just music to also target the living room, has announced that co-founder of MTV Networks, John Sykes, has joined its board.

Sykes was instrumental in creating MTV some 25 years ago (makes me feel old, alright) as well as serving as President of VH1, which he rebranded and “lead to record audience ratings and profits, from 1994-2002”, according to the press release. He also spent time as Chairman and CEO of Infinity Broadcasting before returning to MTV Networks in 2005 as President Network Development. In 2008 Sykes left Viacom to join former MTV colleagues Bob Pittman and Tom Freston at the Pilot Group.

On the face of it, Sykes would seem a good fit for Shazam, which is trying hard to expand its appeal beyond music recognition and recommendation to become a sort-of audio barcode service for all sorts of content discovery but particularly via the television.

As an example, the company has partnered with Syfy for a series-long “TV tagging initiative” for the cable channel’s new U.S. show Being Human in which the Shazam logo will be ‘embedded’ into the program ready for users to tag the show. This entails them holding their phone up so that it can listen to and recognise the episode in question from which Shazam will provide links to exclusive video and previews of upcoming episodes, access to playlists from the series, downloads and competitions.

Shazam is also putting the concept to work with other broadcasters and advertisers too. Aside from Syfy (NBC Universal), TV partners include HBO, as well as major brands, such as Levi’s Dockers and Lynx.