Instead of pouring untold millions into development costs, sometimes it’s just easier to pour all kinds of told millions into buying someone else who already knows what they’re doing. And when you’re sitting on unfathomable piles of cash, it doesn’t hurt too much to drop a few hundred million here and there. And that’s why Apple has now confirmed that it is set to acquire Shazam.

Many of us have already been using Shazam for a number of years, so we’re already familiar with just how powerful this music identification service can be. At the same time, there are some other players with “machine learning” in this space now.

Perhaps most notably, one of the big features on the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is something called “Now Playing.” The phone is effectively always listening for tunes and then it displays the artist and song title on the always-on display. Shazam is more active than that and it requires a live Internet connection (Now Playing works offline), but the idea is similar.

It is very well possible that Apple could leverage this acquisition to further develop what Shazam can do in terms of music recognition. It’s more than likely that Shazam will eventually see integration into Siri, iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS, the HomePod speaker and more.

While Apple did issue an official statement, the Cupertino company is staying tight-lipped about the actual details surrounding the acquisition. They’re just saying that “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.”

Word on the street is that the deal is worth about $400 million. That’s a relative bargain, so to speak, as Shazam was last valued at about $1 billion back in 2015 when they were looking for money from investors. In the interim, both Snap (of Snapchat fame) and Spotify reportedly expressed interest too before Apple swooped into the conversation.


The big thing is that while Shazam is popular, it’s hardly a money-maker. It only brought in $54 million last year before expenses. Thankfully for Apple, they’re probably not looking to make money from the music recognition service directly.

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