Why Apple Might Want to Buy Shazam

TechCrunch is reporting:

As Spotify continues to inch towards a public listing, Apple is making a move of its own to step up its game in music services. Sources tell us that the company is close to acquiring Shazam, the popular app that lets people identify any song, TV show, film or advert in seconds, by listening to an audio clip or (in the case of, say, an ad) a visual fragment, and then takes you to content relevant to that search.

The article also says:

It’s not clear what will carry on post acquisition, and which of these might be something that Apple would integrate into its own business (and how), but it’s notable that much of what Shazam does is very synergistic with what Apple is working on already: AR, and more features to attract more users to the Apple Music platform.

My guess is that Shazam has powerful data that Apple currently may not be able to access. While Shazam powers Siri’s music recognition, there may be ways that Apple could leverage this service to get more data that will help them spot trends, and better understand the way people listen to music. Or it could simply be that Apple wants to stop paying Shazam for their service, and since they have boatloads of cash, this allows them to buy it out and control it entirely. And stop sending people to Spotify or other services.

5 thoughts on “Why Apple Might Want to Buy Shazam

  1. The answer to the question ‘Why?’ is so Apple will have an in-house response to Spotify’s own nascent product, and to cut Spotify off early before they can launch it (while annoying paying Spotify users, and potentially delaying Spotify’s initial public offering).

    Spotify is planning an IPO next year and it’s been said that it wanted to compete with Shazam. Earlier this year Spotify purchased Sonalytic, Shazam’s #1 competitor, and it promised new products related to song identification tech.

    Apple’s purchase will probably take away the current Spotify-Shazam integration (in existence since 2011), which includes (a) turning Shazam tags into a custom Spotify playlist called ‘My Shazam Tracks’, (b) playing one’s Spotify account through the Shazam app, and (c) playing full songs plays of tagged tracks instead of 30-second previews. These features are depended on by paying Spotify customers, and now Spotify will have to scramble to duplicate the functionality should Apple sever Shazam’s ties, and it would therefore hurt Spotify’s potential IPO pricing/success.

    FYI when you ask Siri “What song is playing?”, you’re actually talking to Shazam. With Spotify building its own Shazam product it makes sense for Apple to want to control its own destiny in audio recognition as well.

    • Apple already has something like Echo Nest. It’s what they use to create Apple Music Radio stations, and is probably based on Genius, which they’ve been developing for many years.

  2. If they do it’s far more simplistic than the developer API Spotify is offering to third parties.

    Point is there are proactively defensive as well as competitively offensive reasons to have acquired Spotify (which they’ve now confirmed), and they got a good price as Shazam’s turn to advertising (with the drying up of revenue from song sales commissions) was faltering.

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