The heated race between Apple Music and Spotify for fans’ hearts and minds might center on music, not tech, as the former’s US$400m acquisition of Shazam shows.
In December 2017, Apple Inc bought UK-based Shazam Entertainment, which created what has (so far) become one of the 21st century’s cleverest inventions: a smartphone app that enables users to identify any song or tune playing in public, based on each song’s unique acoustic fingerprint.
Users then have an option to click to buy, consequently creating a cool seamless way to discover and pay for their music.
With the emergence of streaming music, clicking to buy a physical CD is diminishing in frequency. For this reason Shazam Entertainment turned its attention to marketing: when users “Shazam” a TV or print ad, the app directs them to promotional content created by the advertiser.
When a tech behemoth like Apple comes calling, it is usually interested in the core technology the new acquisition brings. And observers can see how Shazam could be used to direct fans to Apple Music’s streaming service with its reported 30 million-plus paying customers worldwide…
What has made Spotify intriguingly different from Shazam is its willingness to invest in original content and music. It is a popular platform among podcasters.
It has also invested in original music-related videos. Furthermore, in October 2017, it launched RISE, an initiative dedicated to supporting up-and-coming artists and promoting them on Spotify.
While Spotify insists it has no ambitions to be a label…
For more on the analysis of the battle between Spotify and Apple Music, download TechMutiny Issue No.16