Apple beats Snap and Spotify in race to acquire Shazam

2017-12-12 20:01 - Kyle Venktess and AFP
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Johannesburg - iPhone-maker Apple has beaten music service Spotify and Snapchat’s parent company Snap to acquire music recognition app Shazam, which can identify songs in a matter of seconds through the microphone of the user's device, for $400m.

Shazam had been in talks with with Apple, Spotify and Snap - all of which expressed interest in the purchase of the service - for five months, according to TechCrunch.

"Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users," Apple said in a statement.

London-based Shazam said in a separate statement: "We can't imagine a better home for Shazam to enable us to continue innovating and delivering magic for our users."

On Monday, Apple said that it would buy Shazam in a fresh bid to secure an edge in the intensifying battle of streaming services, as Spotify moves towards a public listing. 

Earlier this month, Tencent announced that it would make an undisclosed minority investment in Spotify.

Apple, whose streaming service has rapidly grown but still has only half the paid subscribers of Spotify, said that Shazam has consistently been one of the most popular items on its App Store.

The market signalled its approval with Apple share prices jumping 2.0%, well outpacing the 0.2% rise on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Shazam, which was founded in 1999 in the early age of online music, has struggled to find a way to make money from its technology, even as it said it reached one billion downloads on smartphones last year.

Shazam only recently announced it has become profitable, thanks to advertising and steering traffic to other sites such as Spotify and Apple Music.

The technology is also no longer quite as novel, with Shazam facing rivals such as SoundHound and with smartphones capable of ever more advanced recognition functions.

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