Apple has acquired music-identification app Shazam at a price of $400 million. This is the biggest acquisition by Apple since it purchased Beats Electronics at a price of $3 billion three years ago. According to Apple the music-identification app will be integrated into Apple Music, a streaming service.
“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,” a spokesperson for Shazam said.
Wave of acquisitions since Brexit
The music-identification platform becomes the latest tech firm based in the United Kingdom to be acquired by foreign companies following the depreciation in the value of the pound after Brexit. Last year Japan’s Softbank acquired ARM Holdings while Canyon Bridge acquired Imagination Technologies earlier this year.
So far there have been over one billion downloads of the Shazam music app and is already integrated into Siri allowing users to ask the voice assistant information on a song that is playing. Despite its popularity the app has struggled financially and last year managed to generate revenues of $54 million. It was the first time that the service became profitable and this was largely as a result of advertising revenues.
Ahead of its time
The company behind the app was founded in 1999 by friends who wanted to create a service which would allow them to identify particular songs that they had heard on radio. Since it was founded long before the advent of iTunes and smartphones, users were required to call a number and then have the song they wanted identified play once they were connected. A text message with information on the song would then be sent to them. According to one of the company’s co-founders, Dhiraj Mukherjee, the service was ahead of the curve and this has had consequences.
The popularity of Shazam has risen rapidly over the years however and a network television game show has been created known as Beat Shazam. The game show is hosted by Oscar award-winning actor Jammie Foxx and it requires contestants to songs at a faster speed than Shazam.
Among the founders of the company only Avery Wang has remained as Mukherjee, Philip Inghelbrecht and Chris Barton have all left. Prior to the acquisition by Apple Shazam had considered listing on the stock exchange with its valuation being approximated to be $1 billion.