Once again, the power that Twitter and social media gives to consumers is demonstrated. And, my faith in justice in the business world has been restored for a moment.

I use the Shazam app a lot (“what is this song”, “Oh cool that it’s playing” and upload to Facebook to share with my friends). Well in the spring they suddenly limited tagging songs to 5 per month unless you upgraded for $5.99. Huh???
So I was frustrated, but caved and upgraded because I do enjoy the app. It stings when something is free and they suddenly start charging, but my level of enjoyment with it was worth paying for if need be.

So….along comes September and they make this HUGE announcement with press releases, online parties, Twitter announcements with hashtags, etc….”We’re gonna be FREE forever! Tag all you want!”. Like it wasn’t a free app for years….HUH????

So I instantly took to Twitter with hashtags and messaged them publicly with my frustration. I pointed out that this was bad business. You’ve got a great free app, supported by ads, and you suddenly decide to start charging your loyal long-time users. THEN, a couple of months later, make it free again? I doubt they strategically planned it this way to “get over” on us, but it’s surely not good business at any rate.

They pointed out that yes, it’s free now, but for those of us who PAID, there are some exciting features, etc…etc… I told them I don’t use the special features and that I wanted a refund via my Paypal account. They sent me a message with an email address and lots of hoops to jump through.

I had to find my ORIGINAL email receipt (of course I had it), AND I had to go into my iTunes purchase history and do a screenshot of the purchase and send it to them copy/pasted.

They emailed me this morning and said they’ll be processing my request. I’m happy about this and feel that they’ve done the right thing.

I’m inclined to not usually jump through hoops this way. I calculate my hourly rate and say “meh, not worth the trouble”. But this was more of a principle thing to me.

What do you guys think? Was this bad business on their part? Should I have been happy to pay for an app that I use frequently even though everyone who didn’t previously have it can get it for free?

How will this affect Shazam? Well I’m only one person, but now I’m a happy customer/user of their app, and I’ll be tweeting with hashtags, and messages to @shazam about how awesome they are as a company. Social media can be either a business’s best friend or worse enemy.

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