Take a look at the list just published by Apple of the most popular iPhone applications this year and you will notice that there is a great absent: Shazam.
In fact, this popular song identification application takes time without appearing among the favorites of the signature of the apple.
So, why now Apple decided to acquire the London company responsible for that app?
The firm did not disclose the price it is paying for the well-known musical application, but some people speak of up to US $ 400 million, which, if true, would make it one of the most expensive operations for Apple to date.
Did Apple lower the quality of its products? The errors that question the reputation of the most valuable brand in the world
How does Apple make money beyond its famous iPhone
The American technology giant also did not disclose the reasons for carrying out the operation and simply stressed that it has “very interesting projects” in mind.
But there are some clear reasons that may have motivated the purchase:
1. The business of discovering new music
Apple’s smart assistant, Siri, already takes advantage of Shazam, allowing users to ask: “What song is playing?” And he has been doing it for more than three years.
But the growing competition between Apple Music and Spotify, which also has ties to Shazam, may have led Apple to think that it is necessary to ensure access to this service and not risk having its Swedish rival or another company buy it before.
Apple noted that Shazam fits “naturally” with its music streaming platform.
However, there are those who believe that the real value of the acquisition is not Shazam’s technology – because Apple could have developed its own version for a smaller amount of money – but the data that Shazam stored on its millions of users for more. of a decade.
“Apple does not have the same amount of data on music tastes as Spotify, which means it can not make recommendations with the same level of efficiency and accuracy,” said Mark Mulligan of Midia Research.
“Basically, Shazam gives you quick access to a gigantic database.”
Music is one of the key pillars of Apple’s business. Not only through its subscription service, but also through its:
Division of headphones Beats
The radio channel Beats 1
The iTunes store
The Carpool Karaoke TV show (along with other music programs that are on the way)
So securing access to one of the new music discovery services and tightening Shazam’s ties to the Apple ecosystem has a certain logic.
2. Always “listening”
Apple is also aware that Google Now and the Google Assistant used proprietary technology to allow Android users to identify songs.
That made it easier for the most famous search firm to add a feature to its most recent release, the Pixel 2 phone: the device shows you on the screen proactively the name of the songs you hear without even waiting for you to ask.
In addition, it does so without the need for an internet connection thanks to a database that is updated periodically and contains thousands of songs, carrying out the process to identify the music on the phone itself.
So that Siri could replicate this trick or add some innovation of its own, Apple might have thought that it was necessary to get hold of Shazam.
Apple has long presented itself as the company that goes one step further to protect the privacy of its users, so presumably rejects the idea of allowing a third party to manage their service “always listening” on their devices.
Apple delayed the launch of its smart speaker for home, Homepod -rival Amazon Echo or Google Home- although the hardware used by the device was unveiled last June.