Apple to make Shazam ad-free as it completes acquisition

25 Sep 2018

Shazam app on an iPhone X. Image: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock

Shazam could be vital in helping Apple Music close in on streaming rival Spotify.

Apple has officially completed the acquisition of music discovery app Shazam and has promised to make the service ad-free.

“Shazam lets users identify songs simply by listening to the music playing around them. The app will soon offer its experience ad-free for all users so everyone can enjoy the best of Shazam without interruption,” Apple said in a statement.

In recent weeks, reported how the EU gave approval for Apple’s takeover of the UK-based company. Apple reportedly paid $400m for the platform. Last night (24 September), Apple confirmed that the acquisition was complete.

“Apple and Shazam have a long history together. Shazam was one of the first apps available when we launched the App Store and has become a favourite app for music fans everywhere,” said Oliver Schusser, vice-president of Apple Music.

“With a shared love of music and innovation, we are thrilled to bring our teams together to provide users even more great ways to discover, experience and enjoy music.”

Shazam and the looming battle with Spotify

Shazam, which has been downloaded more than 1bn times, was founded in 1999 by Chris Barton, Philip Inghelbrecht, Avery Wang and Dhiraj Mukherjee.

The app can identify music, movies, advertising and TV shows based on a sample played through a microphone on a smartphone or personal computer. According to Apple, the app is used more than 20m times every day by users to identify songs.

It could prove itself to be a vital tool in Apple’s armoury it takes on Spotify in the streaming market with Apple Music. Since it launched Apple Music in 2015, Apple’s streaming service has amassed 40m paying users, catching up fast on Spotify’s seven-year head start.

Last week, we reported that streaming music now accounts for 75pc of all US music revenues. Half of Apple Music’s subscribers are in the US and the platform is the most popular paid music platform there.

As Apple closes the gap with Spotify and features make all the difference, the global popularity of Shazam could turn out to be a crucial feature in the international market, enabling Apple to convert music lovers seeking to tune into model subscribers.

Shazam app on an iPhone X. Image: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock

Updated, 11.58am, 25 September 2018: This article was updated to clarify that Spotify (2008) had a seven-year head start on Apple Music (2015).

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years