European Commission opens 'in-depth' investigation into Apple's acquisition of Shazam

Posted:
in General Discussion
The European Commission is investigating the proposed acquisition of Shazam by Apple, with competition concerns lengthening the time it will take for the regulator to approve or deny the purchase of the song recognition service by the iPhone manufacturer.

Shazam iOS


A statement from the European Commission confirms it has opened an "in-depth investigation" into the Shazam purchase, advising it is concerned that the merger "could reduce choice for users of music streaming services."

"The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services," said EU Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager. "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."

A number of issues have been raised over Apple's acquisition, including concern that Apple would gain access to "commercially sensitive data about customers of its competitors" in the European Economic Area. Access to this type of data could allow Apple to target customers of competing streaming services, such as Spotify, and encourage them to switch over to Apple Music.

Rather than play music itself, Shazam instead points users towards streaming services that have the track available to play. While the Android version of the app has hooks for multiple services, including Google Play Music All Access and Deezer, the iOS version is mostly limited to Apple Music, iTunes, and Spotify.

While the Commission states it does not consider Shazam as a "key entry point for music streaming services," it will still look into whether competition for Apple Music would be harmed if Apple discontinued referrals to them from the Shazam app after it took control.

The Commission had previously set a provisional deadline of April 23 for a decision on approving or denying the acquisition. With the opening up of a new investigation, the Commission has a 90-working day period to make a decision on the matter, which it claims will end on September 4.

The investigation follows after requests from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden to assess the acquisition under EU merger regulations. The governments have expressed similar concerns over competition, asking the European Commission to look into the matter as early as February.

It is unclear if Apple would make any major changes to the app once the acquisition completes, such as limiting the app to refer only to Apple Music instead of third-party services, or even removing the Android version of the app completely. Given Shazam's enduring popularity, this may not necessarily be well received by its users.

Using such a tool may still help Apple improve Apple Music's standings compared to Spotify. As of the beginning of April, Apple Music is believed to have reached 40 million paid subscribers, while Spotify's IPO documentation in February indicated it had 71 million paying customers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,334member
    I am sorry those old people on the EU commission have no ideal what they are talking about. Then they are going to invite in a bunch of so-called experts to explain they only way people find new music is holding their phone with Shazam on it to tell them the song that is playing and then the person goes to their music streamer of choice and listen there. There is no way Shazam being around or not will change the music streaming world, Those who exist today my or may not be around in the future it just the nature of business. I think this is more about Spotify saying they screwed up and should have did this deal but could not since they were more focus on going public. You can bet that Spotify made a stink about this since they are an EU company.
    jbdragonracerhomie3bshankcornchipbaconstangjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 28
    "The investigation follows after requests from [blah, blah]..  and Sweden...". What a surprise. /s
    Apple should be able to do whatever it wants with Shazam after purchase.
    There are other apps (Soundhound) that do the same.
    What is the big deal with EU? Are they running out of things to regulate?
    entropysracerhomie3bshankcornchipjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 28
    I think some of the EUs "enthusiastic" willingness to investigate U.S. tech companies is because with the exception of Spotify all of the leading tech companies are based in the U.S. and Asia. That said, I think some of what they do is warranted and I think the U.S. Congress should also turn up the heat a bit on the tech companies in certain areas. That said, I am not sure the Shazem acquisition merits an investigation. However, Apple could avoid troubles by leaving the hooks to Google Music and Spotify. Break out the popcorn!
    edited April 23 cornchipbaconstang
  • Reply 4 of 28
    If they approve the acquisition but force Apple to continue offering links to the competition, surely they have to do the same to Google. Right now, Now can listen and identify songs but will only offer to open it on Google Music. It's slightly frustrating on those few times I need it. I could use Shazam but the slight convenience of having it in the OS puts me off installing it to use once in a while.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 28
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    “Monopolies are only okay when we have them.” – The European Union
    jbdragonmavemufcracerhomie3bshankcornchipjony0lukeiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,403member
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam creates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?


    edited April 23 jbdragoncornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 28
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,903member
    Soli said:
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam crates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?


    It doesn't!!!  It's just about wanting to control American company's.  When they need more money because their policy's keep failing, they'll find something new to fine a American company.
    racerhomie3bshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,403member
    jbdragon said:
    Soli said:
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam crates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?
    It doesn't!!!  It's just about wanting to control American company's.  When they need more money because their policy's keep failing, they'll find something new to fine a American company.
    Thanks. I certainly can't see a reasoning, nor did I glean any from the article.
    edited April 23 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 28
    mavemufcmavemufc Posts: 326member
    Soli said:
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam creates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?


    It doesn’t!
    bshank
  • Reply 10 of 28
    croprcropr Posts: 863member
    Soli said:
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam creates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?


    Well, assume that Google is acquiring Shazam. You would definitely find an action that Google could perform to its advantage and might be considered as unfair. 
    Theoretically Apple could perform the same action, but most probably Apple would not. The European Commission does not speculate about such an assumption. So if the European would conditionally approve the acquisition on the condition that action should not take place and Apple had no intention to perform that action anyhow, then the European Commission did its job and everybody is happy.  (and that is what probably will happen).

    baconstangpropod
  • Reply 11 of 28
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,001member
    "The investigation follows after requests from [blah, blah]..  and Sweden...". What a surprise. /s
    Apple should be able to do whatever it wants with Shazam after purchase.
    There are other apps (Soundhound) that do the same.
    What is the big deal with EU? Are they running out of things to regulate?
    The more you become authoritarian, the more you run out of things to regulate.
    racerhomie3tallest skil
  • Reply 12 of 28
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,701administrator
    Soli said:
    jbdragon said:
    Soli said:
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam crates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?
    It doesn't!!!  It's just about wanting to control American company's.  When they need more money because their policy's keep failing, they'll find something new to fine a American company.
    Thanks. I certainly can't see a reasoning, nor did I glean any from the article.
    We couldn’t figure one out either, our emails and calls have as of yet gone unanswered, and the statement on the matter is frustratingly short on specifics.
    bshank
  • Reply 13 of 28
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,334member
    Soli said:
    jbdragon said:
    Soli said:
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam crates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?
    It doesn't!!!  It's just about wanting to control American company's.  When they need more money because their policy's keep failing, they'll find something new to fine a American company.
    Thanks. I certainly can't see a reasoning, nor did I glean any from the article.
    We couldn’t figure one out either, our emails and calls have as of yet gone unanswered, and the statement on the matter is frustratingly short on specifics.

    The EU is worried about Apple whipping out another EU company like Nokia, The UE is afraid that if Apple gets a strong foothold into the stream music it may hurt Spotify and other considering Spotify really has not figure out how to make money.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,403member
    cropr said:
    Soli said:
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam creates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?


    Well, assume that Google is acquiring Shazam. You would definitely find an action that Google could perform to its advantage and might be considered as unfair. 
    Theoretically Apple could perform the same action, but most probably Apple would not. The European Commission does not speculate about such an assumption. So if the European would conditionally approve the acquisition on the condition that action should not take place and Apple had no intention to perform that action anyhow, then the European Commission did its job and everybody is happy.  (and that is what probably will happen).
    I can't imagine how it's unfair to other streaming platforms if Google (or Spotify or anyone else) bought it. What do see as unfair if Google bought it?
  • Reply 15 of 28
    With the entire EU collapsing , you would think they have better things to regulate.
    tallest skilseanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 28
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,903member
    cropr said:
    Soli said:
    Can someone explain to me how buying Shazam creates an unfair advantage for Apple with streaming music?


    Well, assume that Google is acquiring Shazam. You would definitely find an action that Google could perform to its advantage and might be considered as unfair. 
    Theoretically Apple could perform the same action, but most probably Apple would not. The European Commission does not speculate about such an assumption. So if the European would conditionally approve the acquisition on the condition that action should not take place and Apple had no intention to perform that action anyhow, then the European Commission did its job and everybody is happy.  (and that is what probably will happen).



    This is all about Spotify. I'm sure they're the one that complained and see it as a threat to their business. As it'll send people to Apple Music and not Spotify. That's their thinking By the way, Shazam is not the only service out there that does what they do. I've normally used Sound Hound myself for years over Shazam. Apple has had built in Shazam support when you are using Siri.

    Google as far as I know already uses something. I don't know if it's it's own creation or what?!?! But say Google acquired Shazam, well Apple could still have acquired Sound Hound.
    edited April 23 bshank
  • Reply 17 of 28
    The European Commission should be renamed the European Cartel!
    edited April 24 tallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 28
    seanjseanj Posts: 25member
    So Apple (an American company), wants to buy Shazam (a British company), and the EU investigates because Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden object!

    And people wonder why we Brits voted to leave the wonderful EU... 😏
    tallest skil
  • Reply 19 of 28
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,329member
    seanj said:
    So Apple (an American company), wants to buy Shazam (a British company), and the EU investigates because Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden object!

    And people wonder why we Brits voted to leave the wonderful EU... 😏

    Could it be that both Apple and Shazam operate in all those countries as well? 
    If those countries have a concern then a complaint to the EU is correct, so they investigate and see if there are any issues.
    It's no wonder the UK voted to leave when they show such a profound lack of understanding of what and how the EU operates.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 28
    seanjseanj Posts: 25member
    Apple and Shazam operate in a great many countries around the world, but this take over only appears to be in an issue in counties living under the EU’s authoritarian jackboot.
    watto_cobra
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