After Apple announced plans to acquire Shazam at the end of 2017, the deal was put on hold when the EU launched an antitrust investigation to determine if it would decrease competition between streaming music providers.
The worry was that, because one of Shazam’s functions is recommending where users can buy or stream a song after it’s been identified, Apple could use that feature to unfairly prioritise services like iTunes or Apple Music over third-party options like Deezer or Spotify.
However, in a statement EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, “After thoroughly analysing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market,” Reuters reported.
In this case, while Apple’s buyout of Shazam was not found to be anticompetitive, Vestager justified the investigation by saying, “Data is key in the digital economy. We must therefore carefully review transactions which lead to the acquisition of important sets of data, including potentially commercially sensitive ones.”
Going forward, what’s not clear is if the Shazam app will continue to be available on Android after Apple completes the buyout. But with Apple Music being one of the few Apple apps available on both iOS and Android, there’s a good chance Shazam will continue to operate as usual on both platforms, at least in the short term. We’ve reached out to Apple for more information.
And down the road, Apple surely has greater ambitions for Shazam than simply helping people identify songs, but it seems we’ll have to wait a little longer to see what those plans entail. Hopefully, they won’t involve helping Apple pick more tracks to be used in Carpool Karaoke.