Apple is sitting on one of the largest cash reserves of any technology company on the planet, and every now and again it reaches into its piggy bank to purchase companies relevant to its interests. Apple has recently purchased Shazam, the app that is most famous for for identifying songs. Shazam not only identifies the song, but it will also link the person using it to sources to listen to and purchase the music.
Reports indicate that Apple likely didn't purchase Shazam for its music identification prowess, but for the massive trove of data Shazam has amassed. Shazam has been collecting data since its start in 2002 when you had to dial a number from your phone to find out what that song was. When 2008 rolled around, there was an app to download in the App Store for the same music identifying
While there are other apps that do the same thing out there now, none of those companies are sitting on a decade's worth of data. "The only reason they’ve been successful is they’ve done it for years, and they’ve got a strong install base of customers," said Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights. "For Apple, it’s about buying that customer base and data."
Among that massive data collection are details on what music Shazam users are searching for, what music they are buying, and music preferences. What exactly Apple plans to do with all this data is unknown, but it would be easy to see that data being mined to improve Apple's music streaming services.
Both Apple and Shazam have officially confirmed the purchase with a Shazam spokesperson stating, "We can’t imagine a better home for Shazam to enable us to continue innovating and delivering magic for our users."
An Apple spokesperson said, "We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement."
While the big unknown might be what Apple plans to do with the Shazam tech, we also don’t know if the acquisition means that Shazam will cease to exist as a standalone app. Apple's main music competitor, Spotify, currently pays Shazam a referral fee for each user directed to the Spotify app. Snap Inc. and Spotify were both interested in purchasing Shazam according to reports.