Shazam, CBS, IntoNow Up Second-Screen Volume at Grammys

Grammy-AppWhile the Super Bowl was for many of us in the mobile media world the game to watch for second-screen efforts, last night’s Grammy Awards may have represented a more evolved effort. The Super Bowl app focus appeared to be on the ads, yet Shazam, IntoNow and CBS Interactive’s own dedicated Grammy app actually added content for an enriched viewing experience. 

The official Grammy app from CBS Interactive started streaming concerts and pre-award red carpet walks into its apps in the days leading up to the Sunday awards. It is still not clear to me that anyone outside the music industry has the love and devotion to the Grammys that we hear gush from that stage every year (does any awards show celebrate itself with such revealing desperation?).

But pop music devotees definitely got an eyeful from this well-designed app. It bears noting that the partnership between CBS and the music industry on this app produced what may be the most ambitious second-screen effort we are bound to see until Oscar night.

You could tap the Grammys Live button most times throughout the previous three days and see something that was being programmed and hosted for Web and apps. A ton of background material had been pre-taped, and live hosts often fronted the material. During the love awards show last night, the app kept the backstage cams down to a manageable three. I also noted that much of the recorded material was contextually relevant and well-timed to the on-air content.

The app also reiterated one of the show’s primary sponsors, Target. They were the sole sponsor of the app, present both in persistent banners that led to their music store and in pre-rolls attached to the video content. This must be one of the first instances where an on-air sponsor not only echoed their on-air creative on an app, but also fully closed the loop with an m-commerce sale.

Advance word from BC and the Oscars suggests that they too have learned the lesson of overwhelmed people with cams in these apps and will present something more sculpted in their upcoming second-screen effort.

Yahoo’s IntoNow applied its template to the Grammys by integrating a series of polls on fashion and user response to elements of the show. Their focus was on the social TV element, plugging in to its own discussion boards and tapping Twitter.

Shazam in some ways outdid its Super Bowl program by detecting accurately the entire program itself, rather than just having the user chase and tag ad spots. Once my iPhone picked up the audio cues it loaded a full-screen Grammy experience that complemented every on-air performance with a link to its respective iTunes download as it was performed. Tabs into the general twitter stream and featured Tweeter performance give the view real-time insight into celebrity and fan discussions.

The first- and third-party apps could have used a bit more utility. A winners list that the user could manipulate, share and comment upon with friends might have been a way to adapt the apps to some use cases. More synchronized content recognizing the winners or providing contextualized background content in real-time would have been welcome.

Nevertheless, as the awards season grinds on, it looks as if the live multi-screen experience will evolve along the way.  

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