It’s official: Apple has bought British music-recognition platform Shazam. The $400 million deal was first reported by TechCrunch last week, and on Monday, Apple confirmed the acquisition.
It’s one of Apple’s biggest acquisitions ever. But exactly how Cupertino will use Shazam’s platform, app and technology remain unclear. An Apple spokesperson just said that there are “exciting plans in store” once the deal gets approved.
Even with that in mind, there are still quite a few ways that Apple can leverage Shazam’s tech and its popularity with users. Here are just a few ways Apple could benefit from the acquisition.
3 Give Apple Music an Edge
Shazam already plays fairly nicely with the Apple ecosystem (Siri’s song recognition abilities rely on Shazam, for example). But with the company actually becoming a part of Apple, we can be sure to expect far deeper integration and better features in iOS and other Apple operating systems.
For example, Siri briefly had an automatic song detection feature via Shazam — but that feature was quickly changed to voice-activated song recognition. Presumably, it’d be easier to add this feature back in now that Apple owns the platform. Just expect improved sound and music recognition in iOS moving forward.
There’s also the competition aspect. If Shazam becomes an integrated part of Apple Music, that’ll likely mean that Apple will end song referrals to other music platforms, like Spotify. Apple Music and Spotify get about 1 million clicks a day through Shazam. With Shazam’s popularity, that would mean a lot more referrals back to Apple’s own proprietary music platform.
2 Establish a Social Platform
Apple is not a social media company. The Cupertino-based tech giant has focused on hardware and software rather than social platforms. And while Apple isn’t likely to debut a full-fledged Snapchat or Facebook clone anytime soon, Shazam offers Apple a chance to bring a bit more socialness to some of its services.
For example, Shazam keeps charts of the music its users are Shazam-ing — and it even features information about the artists and the music. With Shazam as part of its plan, Apple could presumably use this to create a more social music ecosystem for its users. Similarly, Apple could embed lyrics and user-made annotations into its platform, similar to Spotify’s usage of Genius.
Apple Music already has a recent feature that allows users to see what their friends are listening to. If you consider Shazam’s current integration with Snapchat, and how Snapchat users can share their musical discoveries with their friends, it looks possible that Apple will leverage that social aspect for its own platforms.
1 Create New AR Experiences
Apple’s ambitions with Shazam don’t just stop at music. Shazam can also recognize TV shows, movies, and other media content, of course. But the London-based recognition company has also recently branched out into augmented reality and visual object recognition.
Earlier this year, Shazam debuted its AR system that allowed users to access custom AR content via codes embedded into brand packaging, pamphlets, and other marketing materials. That content includes animations, mini-games, and 360-degree videos. And while Shazam’s AR systems are mainly focused on advertising and brand marketing, Apple’s likely to use the tech for its own purposes.
If you’ve been following Apple’s plans for any length of time, you probably know that the company has increasingly focused on augmented reality. Combine Shazam’s visual recognition technology with rumors of Apple’s upcoming AR headset or spectacles, and you can probably guess where Apple might be heading with the platform.