Apple has confirmed that it has acquired Shazam, the music identification app.  In addition to this, they have announced that the app will become advertisement free for all users – even Android users.  This purchase has been planned for some time now, but it is now official.  The app itself had a lot of success early on and has now been downloaded over a billion times.  If you’re not familiar with the app, it listens to songs when you open it, and then tells you what the song is.  It also delivers links to the track through services like Spotify and iTunes.  This kind of technology certainly felt revolutionary at the time.  Now it feels commonplace.

What we don’t know is why Apple has decided to purchase the app in the first place.  Oliver Schusser, Vice President of Apple Music said that he’s “thrilled to bring [their] teams together to provide users even more great ways to discover, experience and enjoy great music”.  But that doesn’t tell us much.  Schusser’s full statement was:

“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 favorite app for music fans everywhere. 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.”

Is this a way for Apple to stay relevant?  Google’s Pixel can automatically identify a song playing nearby without you having to do anything.  Now that Apple has purchases Shazam, it seems like this is a similar way to integrate this feature into iOS in the future.

Or is this a sales gimmick?  Right now, Shazam identifies 20 million tracks each day. If Apple can push those users towards Apple Music, it means that they could make a lot more money than they currently are.  But this wouldn’t work for me.  I don’t use Apple Music, but I love being able to Shazam a song.  I guess what I’m saying is that this could be bad for non-Apple Music customers, or at least people who don’t want the service.  What will Android users do?  Will it automatically send them to Apple Music?  I think that the app should open to whatever service you use.  Regardless of who owns it. But that’s just my personal opinion.

Or is this going to be used as a way to improve Siri?  Apple is pretty far behind its competitors when it comes to voice assistants.  But with Shazam’s expertise in the audio space – particularly recognition and analysis – some of this experience could potentially be used to improve Siri.  Siri needs a ton of help and it will give HomePod users greater access to voice commands.

Is there just one reason though?  All of these reasons seem legitimate and could definitely be worked into the new Shazam model.  Whatever the reason, though, we can all say that the removal of advertisements will be incredible.

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