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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Apple in talks to buy music recognition app Shazam

The move comes as the tech giant tries to compete with streaming leader Spotify

Shazam is now a part of the Apple stable. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg
Shazam is now a part of the Apple stable. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg

Apple is in talks to acquire song recognition app Shazam, in a deal that could beef up the tech giant’s music streaming capacity and help it compete with rival Spotify, according to a tech news website.

TechCrunch, which cited unnamed sources, said the deal could fetch around $400 million and could be signed as early as Monday.

Shazam, which lets users identify songs through their phones' microphones, has been rumoured to be an acquisition target as its losses declined.

Founded in 1999, the London-based firm has 475 million users globally, with 3.7 million users in the Middle East as of August this year.

It has raised $143 million from a string of investors including DN Capital Limited, Institutional Venture Partners, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, according to PitchBook, a firm that tracks private venture investments.

But the price TechCrunch reported may disappoint those investors, as it would fall far below Shazam's most recent $1 billion valuation reported by PitchBook.

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Last year, the company said it had reached one billion downloads on smartphones.

However, it only recently started to see profitability by incorporating advertisements and tying up with the likes of Spotify and Apple, to which it refers traffic.

Users of Apple's iPhone with the Shazam app installed can say: "Hey Siri, what's that song?" and the app will identify it. But Shazam has other features, such as the ability to identify television shows, that do not yet work with Siri.

Shazam did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple, which earlier revolutionised online music with iTunes, in 2015 launched Apple Music as the market turns to streaming, which offers unlimited on-demand listening.

Apple said in September that the service had more than 30 million subscribers - a rapid rise but still trailing industry leader Spotify which said it had 60 million paying users as of July and 80 million more on its free tier.

An acquisition of Shazam could help bolster Apple's music efforts by making it easier for users to find songs and add them to playlists in its Apple Music service.

Stockholm-based Spotify on Friday announced that it and China's Tencent were taking minority stakes in each other - a likely sign of Spotify's growth ambitions in the world's most populous country, where it is not yet present.

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