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Report: Apple is buying audio recognition app Shazam

Report: Apple is buying audio recognition app Shazam
[Photo: Flickr use Ryoichi Tanaka]

Shazam has been around forever—or since 1999, to be exact. The app can listen to and identify audio in music tracks, TV content, and advertisements.

Now TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden is reporting that Apple will buy the company in a deal that could be announced as soon as Monday. She adds that one source said the sale price would be “in the nine figures,” while another source said it would be around $400 million. At its last funding round in 2015, Shazam was valued at $1.02 billion, per Pitchbook.

Apple already uses some audio recognition technology in Apple TV to identify content and serve up related items. A Shazam acquisition would help the company expand on that. Apple also currently pays Shazam a small fee when the app identifies a song and sends a user to Apple Music to buy the track. (Spotify does the same thing.) Apple may want to pull that whole process into Apple Music.

“This is a smart move that gives them another feature that enhances their overall music strategy,” said Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin. “They have to find ways to differentiate their music offerings. and Shazam gives them a way to add more value to their music customers.”

Or, as my colleague Harry McCracken points out, the Shazam technology could give the iPhone something similar to the Google Pixel 2’s automatic Shazam-like song identification that doesn’t even require the phone’s display to be on. If the deal is real, Shazam would be the highest-profile Apple acquisition since it bought Beats in 2014.

We reached out to Apple for comment and will update if we hear back.