The European Commission today announced it has approved Apple’s proposed acquisition of music recognition service Shazam.
“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,” said Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition.
The regulatory body concluded that Apple and Shazam mainly offer “complementary services” and “do not compete with each other,” and that a merged Apple-Shazam entity would not adversely affect competitors in the European Union:
In particular, access to Shazam’s data would not materially increase Apple’s ability to target music enthusiasts and any conduct aimed at making customers switch would only have a negligible impact. As a result, competing providers of digital music streaming services would not be shut out of the market.
The regulators were concerned that the merger could reduce choice for users of streaming music services in Europe. In particular, they were concerned that Apple might gain access to sensitive data that would allow it to directly target competitors’ customers and encourage them to switch to Apple Music.
While the Commission did not name any specific companies, Apple Music’s biggest rival in Europe is Spotify, headquartered in Sweden. Shazam is currently integrated with multiple services, including Apple Music, Spotify, and Deezer.
Apple announced its plans to acquire Shazam in December, describing the two companies as a “natural fit” with “exciting plans” ahead. In February, however, the Commission received requests from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden to assess the deal under European merger law.
Shazam is a popular service that can identify the name and lyrics of songs, music videos, TV shows, and more. It has apps across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, iMessage, and Mac, while the service has been built into Siri since iOS 8.