BRUSSELS, Belgium (CelebrityAccess) — The European Union’s antitrust regulators on Thursday approved Apple’s planned acquisition of the music discovery app Shazam after an investigation concluded it would not harm competition in the sector.
The deal, which was first announced in December 2017, gives Apple access to a competent music identification tool but perhaps more importantly, to a trove of data collected over 15 years about the musical tastes of its users.
“After thoroughly analyzing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“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,” she added.
The EU launched an investigation of the deal in April after it was requested by seven European nations including France, Italy, and Sweden over fears that Apple’s acquisition of the app might give it too much leverage in the digital music market.
Apple’s acquisition of the service will likely herald an exit of the Shazam app for Spotify and and Deezer.
Shazam, which launched in the UK in 2002 before the era of smartphones, originally allowed users to text a number and hold their phone up to listen to music playing in the environment. The service would then identify the track and send the user a text message containing the song and title.
When the iPhone debuted in 2008, Shazam migrated the service to an app on the platform, and in addition to identifying music, now offers links for users to stream or purchase the track, as well as serving advertisements.
While its popularity has waned somewhat in recent years, Shazam was a regular feature on many ‘must-have’ app lists and has been downloaded more than a billion times since 2008.