Apple has confirmed that it is in the final stages of acquiring music recognition app Shazam, marking the company’s highest-profile purchase since it acquired headphone maker Beats for $3 billion in May 2014.
Shazam is best known for its music recognition technology; tap the “Shazam” button in the app for smartphones and it will usually identify whatever song it hears after just a few seconds.
The Shazam app uses the microphone on a smartphone or computer to identify almost any song playing nearby, then points users to places they can listen to it in future, such as Apple Music or Google’s YouTube.
The acquisition should help Apple embed that capability more deeply into its music offerings. The company’s digital assistant Siri gained Shazam integration in 2014, so users could ask it what song is playing in the background.
Apple said an statement,
“Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users,”
“We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement.”
“Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Today, it’s used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms.”
U.K.-based Shazam was founded in 1999, and initially launched as phone-based music recognition service that allowed users to identify songs by calling into a special number. These days, the company is better known for its music recognition apps, which have been downloaded more than 1 billion times across a variety of mobile platforms.
There is no word yet on what the acquisition means for Shazam’s existing business. Shazam has been working closely with Spotify in the past, allowing users of its app to add recognized songs to Spotify playlists and to listen to Spotify music directly from within Shazam’s app.
Shazam released the following statement:
“We are excited to announce that Shazam has entered into an agreement to become part of Apple. Shazam is one of the highest rated apps in the world and loved by hundreds of millions of users and we can’t imagine a better home for Shazam to enable us to continue innovating and delivering magic for our users. ”
Shazam’s efforts to expand beyond music recognition have been a bit of a mixed bag. The company launched visual search in 2015, but failed to gain a lot of traction for the service. It has seen more success in a partnership with Fox for its competitive reality show “Beat Shazam.” The show, which has contestants trying to beat the company’s app in recognizing songs, first aired in May, and has been renewed for a second season.
Financial details of the acquisition weren’t disclosed by Apple, but the purchase price is reportedly around $400 million.