Blog: Mr. Shazam

Burt Ross

There is no longer any need or desire on my part to see a magic show. Why would ever I travel to Las Vegas to see David Copperfield pretend to saw a woman in half when I can observe far greater feats of magic while eating breakfast right here in Malibu?

A few weeks back, I was enjoying a leisurely breakfast at Kristy’s with my friend and fellow Malibu resident Gary Peterson. I had my 17th cup of coffee and was feeling as energetic as a young pup. Some music was playing in the background when Gary said, “I think that’s a Tom Petty song.” He listened intently and then got up from the table in search of confirmation.

I presumed he was going to ask one of the waiters about the song, but I was wrong. Gary approached one of the speakers, and much to my amazement, he took his phone, reached way up high so the phone was near the speaker, and waited.

A minute later Gary returned and announced, “That was ‘Swingin’ by Tom Petty.” 

“Which one of your friends did you call?” I asked.

“Shazam,” he replied. Now I don’t know anybody in Malibu named Shazam or anybody whose name sounds remotely like Shazam.

“I guess your friend, this guy Mr. Shazam, sure knows his music,” I told Gary.

Gary then explained that Shazam was not a friend of his but rather something called an app on his phone. “All you have to do is hold the phone towards the speaker, and Shazam will tell you the name of the song and the person or group singing it.” 

Now I like Gary, but I was certain he had gone off the deep end.

I don’t like accusing somebody of being nuts, but I was convinced that Gary was desperately in need of help. I decided to call my kids before suggesting that Gary check himself into a mental institution. 

Both kids immediately laughed and told me that Shazam was a well-known app used by everybody. I apparently am not everybody, since I never heard of Shazam, and consequently never used his services. No matter how hard I try to get my hands around it, I still can’t believe you can hold your phone towards a speaker and this fellow Shazam will tell you who is singing what. That just doesn’t make any sense.

At this rate, it won’t be long before newborns exit the birth canal holding a cell phone.  They will already be familiar with Shazam, and I cannot imagine any magic trick that will ever excite them. 

I think at that point I might just have to check myself into a nursing home.