Does France like Shazam more than Twitter?

Nov 15, 2011
Vote on Hacker News

Twitter has been slowly gaining more and more momentum in France. As with other countries around the world, France definitely started to tune into the power of Twitter – especially with the political uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. And to show just how tuned-in France was to the power of the social web, Sarkozy even held the first-ever eG8 Forum in Paris May to address the role of the Internet in society with numerous digital experts from around the world.

Oh ya. French Ministers can’t tweet.

And just in case France wasn’t already paying enough attention to the microblogging platform, the man who replaced Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet as the Minister of Digital Economy had a major DM #fail that made headlines throughout France and Europe. Yes, I guess accidentally publishing a DM asking all your followers if they’d like to sleep with you is a rather big Twitter gaffe (image below) – but especially if you’re supposed to be a hi-tech savvy Minister (you probably want to follow him, don’t you?).

No hiding from DSK.

But surely we can’t give Eric Besson all the credit. In fact, Dominique Strauss-Kahn also got Twitter a bit of attention. When the former IMF Chief and potential French presidential candidate was first arrested in New York for attempted rape, the news first appeared on Twitter (image below). So if anyone wonders why France all of a sudden amassed almost 1 million new Twitter users between March and June of this year, well, I guess the answer is more or less clear.

3.3 million French people on Twitter.

Of Twitter’s near 300 million 140-character-writing population, Semiocast reports that 3.3 million of them are French. According to the study, numerous techniques were used to identify the user’s location – including the user’s platform language and time zone (but I imagine other French-speaking countries like Belgium and whatnot complicate pinpointing the exact number of users in France). But despite the potentially shaky number, 3.3 million French people on Twitter is still remarkable – and more than the number of Germans on Twitter, according to this particular study.

But more French people use Shazam than use the Twitter app.

Given the progress Twitter has made in France, I was expecting the mobile app to be more or less a staple on French smartphones. But of the near 20 million mobile internet users in France, only 1.4 million of them had visited the Twitter app (according to a recent study by MediaMetrie). It is likely that given the number of different Twitter apps and platforms there are out there, that the Twitter app itself is losing out on its numbers.

But that being said, I definitely didn’t expect to see Shazam ahead of Twitter, Allociné (who has a killer app) and French newspaper, Le Monde. That is rather impressive! In fact, Shazam is the leading music app after iTunes – ahead of both Deezer and Spotify. But maybe that isn’t surprising with Shazam’s 150 million users. In April, Shazam’s CEO, Andrew Fisher, told Le Figaro that France was the application’s 2nd market after the US. Even though Shazam doesn’t release specific numbers for each of the European markets, it’s unlikely that the platform is more popular in France than Twitter – at least for now. But if nothing else, the application has done extremely well and will likely continue to do so now that Shazam is hitting TV screens.