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Apple removing ads from Shazam (which it now officially owns)

iPhoneX Shazam
photo via Apple

Apple representatives confirmed their plans to acquire music identification/discovery app Shazam for a reported $400 million back in December, and now that purchase is complete. From Apple’s announcement:

“Apple and Shazam have a long history together. Shazam was one of the first apps available when we launched the App Store and has become a favorite app for music fans everywhere,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music. “With a shared love of music and innovation, we are thrilled to bring our teams together to provide users even more great ways to discover, experience and enjoy music.”

One of the changes in the works for the app is that ads will be removed “soon.” More from Apple:

The app will soon offer its experience ad-free for all users so everyone can enjoy the best of Shazam without interruption

According to The Verge, that includes the Android version of the app.

Apple’s purchase of Shazam was held up while the European Union investigated whether it was allowed under a European Union merger law. From The Verge:

In February, multiple countries, including Austria, France, Iceland, and Spain, requested that the European Commission assess the acquisition to determine whether it’s allowed under a European Union merger law. The deal, according to the commission, “may have a significant adverse effect on competition in the European Economic Area.” That request is now being acted on, with an investigation deadline set of September 4th.

The primary worry appears to be that Spotify and Apple currently gain 1 million clicks per day through the Shazam app. While Shazam is still live, if Apple were to shut it down or only direct referrals to its own music service, Spotify could lose a significant amount of traffic. Additionally, officials point out that Apple could use Shazam’s data to unfairly target its rivals’ users and “encourage them to switch to Apple Music.”

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement: “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.”

The purchase was approved by the EU earlier this month. Reuters reports on a statement from EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager:

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. 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

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