Business News Deals Digital

Apple set to buy Shazam, say sources

By | Published on Monday 11 December 2017


Try Shazam-ing the murmurings emanating from the Apple boardroom at the moment and the iconic audio recognition app will probably declare “ker-ching!” Because Apple is close to acquiring Shazam, according to various sources who have been chattering since TechCrunch first reported the takeover talks on Friday.

Shazam was a very early player in the audio identification technology game, and once smartphones took off it became the go to app for people trying to work out what the hell that bloody annoying song playing in the pub was. Initially it made money by trying to upsell you the recognised track which – despite being bloody annoying – was now stuck in your head. The original simple business model was that Shazam would take a cut on that track sale.

Though as the digital music domain shifted over to streaming, Shazam diversified, in terms of the kinds of audio it recognises and the various ways it monetises both its service and its data. That transformation initially saw revenues decline, though things did improve in 2016. That said, and despite the “ker-ching!” in the opening paragraph, it is thought that the Apple deal, while substantial, will be worth significantly less than the company’s valuation during its last funding round in 2015.

There’s been a tie-up between Shazam and Apple’s Siri voice-activated assistant for a few years now. Apple likely reckons that it can make even better use of the audio ID technology to enhance its services and gadgets, such as Apple Music and the incoming HomePod. On the music streaming side, Spotify bought a much younger rival in the audio-recognition space – Sonalytic – back in March, so it too obviously reckons some added audio ID knowhow could come in useful.

Quite what Apple will actually do with Shazam’s tech and app following any acquisition isn’t clear. Currently the app sends users off to stream tracks on some of Apple Music’s key competitors.