Apple Buys Shazam: What It Means for You

Apple has played nice with Shazam for years, allowing Siri to tap the song recognition app’s database of music to tell you what mystery tune you’re listening to since iOS 8.

Image Credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock

(Image credit: Image Credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock)

That relationship between Siri and Shazam is about to get a whole lot deeper now that Apple has ponied up a reported $400 million to buy the app in a deal first reported by TechCrunch and since confirmed by Apple. Expect Apple Music subscribers to reap the benefits.

“We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple,” the company said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Today, it’s used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users. We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement.”

Apple isn’t saying exactly how Shazam will make Apple Music better, but there are a few hints.

MORE: Apple Music vs. Spotify: Streaming Services Compared

First, we expect you’ll still be able to query Siri about a song you don’t recognize. But a Shazam button within Apple Music could do the same thing if you don’t feel like talking out loud to your iPhone in a public space. (Sorry, Apple, that’s awkward). Then Apple Music could pull up the song and let you stream it on the spot, add it to a playlist, or link off to iTunes to buy as an MP3.

Shazam already has that functionality built in, so you can connect the app to Apple Music and add a song you Shazam to a playlist. But that integration will likely be tighter and more seamless. Maybe you won’t have to install Shazam at all to take advantage of all those features.

Shazam has capabilities beyond mere song recognition that would greatly benefit Apple Music, including full-featured artist pages and recommendations for songs, playlists and music videos based on what artists you like.

Apple may also decide to build something similar to Google Pixel 2’s “Now Playing” song recognition feature, which you can activate right from the phone’s lockscreen if you want your phone to automatically identify music playing around you.

Shazam has waded into image recognition. Two years ago, the Shazam app added the capability to use your phone’s camera to call up information when you scanned a Shazam logo — think of it as a glorified QR code. That’s evolved into an augmented reality platform launched earlier this year that’s aimed at marketing efforts.

Apple added the ability to read QR codes to iOS 11’s Camera app this year, and the company is in the midst of a push to build up the AR features of its mobile devices. So Shazam’s efforts there could inform future AR features that Apple works into the iPhone and iPad.

Caitlin is a Senior editor for Gizmodo. She has also worked on Tom's Guide, Macworld, PCWorld and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When she's not testing out the latest devices, you can find her running around the streets of Los Angeles, putting in morning miles or searching for the best tacos.