While most of us think hard about spending $2 in the App Store, Apple has splashed about $400M to buy music matching service Shazam. While the app is really popular, the tech behind it is really the goose that Apple wants, as it adds the golden egg of AI to their Siri and Apple Music baskets.
If you ever wondered what Apple was going to do with the $250B cash war chest it has stashed in bank accounts and under mattresses around the world, this is a good example. Shazam represents a strong strategic purchase of a business that adds significant intellectual property to Apple’s ambitions.
Shazam is well known for their tech that can recognise music but it can also recognise TV shows and the company’s expertise could be readily applied to many other areas.
While Apple was an important player in getting music, TV producers and the film industry to move towards digital platforms, their businesses model has been overtaken by streaming services, exemplified by Netflix and Spotify. It’s clear Apple doesn’t like the idea of seeing their content cash-cow being destroyed so they are looking for ways to strengthen those businesses. The purchase of Shazam is a way to do that.
The addition of the new TV app, replacing Movies, alongside Apple Music, is an indicator that Apple is looking to become a major player when it comes to streaming content distribution.
Also, the ability to ask Siri “What song is that?” and other sound-related queries – I can imagine someone saying “Hey Siri, what bird is that?” as they walk through a park – is a boost and points to how important AR is to Apple.