Apple has acquired Shazam, the company announced today. The deal was first reported by TechCrunch last week and is worth $400 million, according to Recode. Shazam lets users identify songs, movies, TV shows, and commercials from short audio clips.
Buying Shazam makes total logical sense for Apple: It gives the company a service and a way to convert people onto Apple Music. Song recognition is a neat trick for a digital assistant; one of the Google Pixel 2’s coolest tricks is background song recognition, which will tell you the name of a song from the lockscreen without you having to ever ask. At its simplest, acquiring Shazam could let Apple do something similar with Siri. Given Google’s advantage in data for AI, that would be reason enough to buy Shazam.
But buying the app also makes sense from a customer-acquisition perspective. Apple Music is one of a handful of big players in the music streaming business, where competition is starting to heat up. When users find a song on Shazam, the app prompts them where they can listen to (or buy) the song. If that links straight to Apple Music rather than a competitor, it could be a good way for Apple to boost its own service.
A brief history about Shazam.
Shazam Entertainment Ltd. is a British app development company that created an app that can identify music, movies, advertising, and television shows, based on a short sample played and using the microphone on the device. The software is available for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. Shazam Entertainment Limited was founded in 1999 by Chris Barton, Philip Inghelbrecht, Avery Wang, and Dhiraj Mukherjee.
- In December 2013, according to its CEO, Shazam was one of the top ten most popular apps in the world.
- As of August 2014, the Shazam app had more than 100 million monthly active users and had been used on more than 500 million mobile devices.
- In October 2014, Shazam announced its technology has been used to identify 15 billion songs.
- In October 2016, Shazam announced its mobile apps have been downloaded more than 1 billion times, and users have performed more than 30 billion “Shazams” since launch.
- On 11 December 2017, it was announced that Apple Inc. had purchased Shazam for 400 million.
How Shazam works?
Shazam uses a smartphone or computer’s built-in microphone to gather a brief sample of audio being played. It creates an acoustic fingerprint based on the sample and compares it against a central database for a match. If it finds a match, it sends information such as the artist, song title, and album back to the user. Some implementations of Shazam incorporate relevant links to services such as iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or Groove Music.
Shazam works by analysing the captured sound and seeking a match based on an acoustic fingerprint in a database of more than 11 million songs.
Shazam identifies songs based on an audio fingerprint based on a time-frequency graph called a spectrogram.
Shazam stores a catalogue of audio fingerprints in a database. The user tags a song for 10 seconds and the application creates an audio fingerprint.
Once it creates the fingerprint of the audio, Shazam starts the search for matches in the database. If there is a match, it returns the information to the user; otherwise it returns a “song not known” dialogue.
Shazam can identify prerecorded music being broadcast from any source, such as a radio, television, cinema or music in a club, provided that the background noise level is not high enough to prevent an acoustic fingerprint being taken, and that the song is present in the software’s database.