Apple confirms it’s buying Shazam and there’s a very good reason why

It’s official. After reports suggested Apple was on the verge of buying UK company Shazam, both companies have now confirmed the rumours were true.

Apple confirms it's buying Shazam and there's a very good reason why

“We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple,” said an Apple spokesperson. “Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users. We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement.”

Shazam is the firm behind the music-identifying app, with the same name, that tells you what song is playing from a fragment of sound. As the chart below from our friends at Statista shows, growth has been pretty steady since Shazam first debuted in 2008.shazam_apple_chart

The details of the deal, including the price, have not been confirmed and the deal will now need to be approved by official bodies. Before the official announcement, TechCrunch said the deal could be valued around £300 million ($400 million).

This is significantly lower than the $1 billion valuation given to Shazam during its last funding round in 2015, meaning Apple has bought the UK firm at a bargain price.

That bargain may be why Apple has decided to move on Shazam now, but the larger reasons likely centre on home assistants. Siri has had Shazam integration since September 2014 with the release of iOS 8, but the app refers people for purchases to rivals like Spotify and Google Play Music, as well as iTunes. By eating up Shazam, Apple will be able to integrate its abilities into Siri and funnel users to buy things within its own ecosystem.

With Apple’s HomePod smart speaker on the horizon, the AI assistant arms race is likely to shift a few gears. Amazon’s Alexa can already identify content and push users towards the company’s marketplace, so it makes sense for Apple to fortify its music-identification skills for the next iteration of Siri. It’s also worth noting that Apple Music rival Spotify similarly bought an audio detection company – UK startup Sonalytic – earlier in the year.

Now that the Shazam deal has been confirmed, expect the app to sever ties with Spotify, and to be absorbed into Apple’s Siri as a new ecommerce tool. Ask Siri to identify a piece of music or a slice of dialogue, and you’ll be nudged towards Apple Music or iTunes. 

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