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September 6, 2018

EU Commission Approves Apple Takeover of Music ID App Shazam

Concerns were dismissed because Shazam's data is "not unique"

By CBR Staff Writer

UK-based music identification app Shazam’s proposed acquisition by Apple has been cleared by the EU Commission after five months’ investigation.

In April of 2018 the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed takeover of Shazam by Apple.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, overseer of competition policy, commented at the start of the investigation that: “The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services.”

“Our investigation aims to ensure that music fans will continue to enjoy attractive music streaming offers and won’t face less choice as a result of this proposed merger.”

Shazam is an application developed by Shazam Entertainment in the UK.

It enables you to identify songs and audio clips. A user records a 10-second clip of a song playing from another sound source, such as a radio or TV, the app then analyses and identifies the song title by matching it to a library of acoustic fingerprints.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

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EU Commission

The Commission opened the investigation to ascertain if Apple would be able to gain sensitive data about customers of its competitors, giving them the ability to target said customers.

There was also concerns over the merging of Shazam’s data sets with Apples and whether this would give the US Company a ‘unique advantage’ in the markets which Shazam operate.

The Commission found that: “Any concerns in that respect were dismissed because Shazam’s data is not unique and Apple’s competitors would still have the opportunity to access and use similar databases.”

A key point of investigation for the Commission was to discover if the take-over would give Apple the ability to shut out its competing providers of digital music streaming services by limiting access to application.

However, in the course of the study they found that Apple did not gain any power over its music competitors: “This reflects the fact the app has a limited importance as an entry point to the music streaming services of Apple Music’s competitors.”

See Also: European Commission: “We Need to Invest €20 Billion in AI”

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, clarified in the announcement the reasons for the investigation and the resulting ruling stating that: “Data is key in the digital economy. We must therefore carefully review transactions which lead to the acquisition of important sets of data, including potentially commercially sensitive ones, to ensure they do not restrict competition.”

“After thoroughly analysing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market.”

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