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The European Commission Is Investigating Apple’s Acquisition of Shazam

Many European Countries Are Worried on the Effects It Could Have for Competition

Last Monday, we reported that Shazam will surely be integrated into a future iOS build, as Apple bought the rights to the music-confirmation app back in December. Now it’s come to light that the European Commission will now be investigating the legality of last year’s deal.

For those who don’t use or know about the app, Shazam is the market leader in music recognition. All users need to do is hit the ‘record’ button and point their smartphone microphones towards a speaker to be given a song’s title, in addition to the artist who recorded it and the album, if any, it features on. Shazam has only recently become profitable, though, after partnering with Apple Music and Spotify, so users can listen to the entirety or the tracks directly, and even buy a single or album if they like what they hear. Apple bought Shazam outright for $400m three months ago, and have since integrated the technology into Siri, but not Apple Music as of yet.

Seven different European countries – Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Italy, France, Austria and Spain – have all made requests to the European Commission to lead an investigation into the deal itself. The reason behind their requests is that they’re concerned Apple‘s buying of the market-leading music recognition app could actually have fundamentally adverse effects on competition across borders. The European Commission will be able to undergo a 35-day initial investigation into the deal, and then have a further 105 working days if they find any illegal breaches. Apple will have the right to obtain approval by addressing the EC’s concerns.

While Shazam is perhaps the best-known music recognition app, the technology used to find and track down songs is no longer particularly innovative. Google is currently integrating a similar feature into its search app for smartphones, and there are other apps which carry out the same function – like SoundHound.

The outcome of the European Commission’s investigation will be made public in the next few months, once the investigation has been completed.


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