Archive for the ‘Shazam’ Category

Apple Acquires Shazam and Says ‘Exciting Plans’ Are Ahead

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Apple today announced it has acquired music recognition service Shazam, marking the company's highest-profile purchase since it acquired headphone maker Beats for a confirmed $3 billion in May 2014.

Apple did not disclose financial terms this time, but when TechCrunch broke news of the acquisition plans last week, one of its sources said the deal could be worth around $400 million. Shazam was valued at $1 billion in January 2015.


Apple confirmed the acquisition in a statement provided to MacRumors and several other media outlets today:
We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple. Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Today, it’s used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users. We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today's agreement.
Shazam is a popular service that can identify the name and lyrics of songs, music videos, TV shows, and more. Shazam has standalone iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch apps, while the service is also built into Siri on iOS 8 and later.

Shazam is integrated with Apple Music, allowing subscribers to identify a song and then tap to play it directly in the streaming music service. Shazam also has an iMessage app for identifying and sharing songs in the Messages app.

Shazam isn't just a big part of Apple. The service is built into Snapchat, allowing users to recognize, discover, and share music with friends. In the app, simply press and hold on the camera screen to identify a song with Shazam.

In September 2016, Shazam announced that its mobile apps had been downloaded more than 1 billion times since launching. Shazam released its original iPhone app when the App Store launched in 2008.

Shazam's machine learning algorithms used to identify audio clips, and its augmented reality feature that enables users to discover content based on pictures captured with its app, could be valuable technologies to Apple.

Apple said it is not disclosing further details at this time, so we'll have to wait and see exactly how Apple uses Shazam's technologies and talent.

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Apple May Acquire Music Recognition Service Shazam

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Apple may be planning to acquire music recognition service Shazam, reports TechCrunch, which would be one of the most high-profile acquisitions Apple has made since it purchased Beats in 2014.

Shazam is a well-known music service that uses machine learning techniques to identify short audio clips from songs, television shows, and more. Shazam operates a standalone app for iOS, macOS, and watchOS, but also has a close relationship with Apple.


Since iOS 8, Shazam has been integrated into Siri, and it's what powers the feature that lets Siri identify songs that are playing aloud. If, for example, there's a specific song on television and you ask Siri "What song is this?" Siri uses Shazam to identify it.

Shazam is integrated with Apple Music, and Apple Music subscribers who Shazam a song can then tap to play it directly in Apple Music and can add it to a Shazam playlist. Shazam also has an augmented reality feature that allows you to find content based on pictures captured with the Shazam app.

One of TechCrunch's sources said the deal could be worth nine figures, while another says Apple may shell out somewhere around $401 million. Both numbers are lower than the $1.02 billion valuation Shazam received during its last funding round in 2015.

Apple and Shazam could sign a deal as soon as this week, with an announcement planned for Monday.


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Shazam Debuts Redesigned Apple Watch App That Identifies Songs Faster

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Shazam, the service designed to listen to music and identify lyrics, today updated its iOS app with support for iOS 11 and watchOS 4.

The update includes an entirely revamped version of the Shazam Apple Watch app, with a new look and feel and some impressive speed improvements.


Shazam for Apple Watch is able to identify songs much more quickly, and there's a new more convenient feature that lets users set Shazam to listen and then lower their wrists. When the song is identified, Shazam offers up a little haptic tap.

As MacStories points out, on one of the new Apple Watch Series 3 models, Shazam was able to identify music that was playing in just a few seconds. Shazam is also able to operate entirely over LTE on the new devices when an iPhone isn't available.

The new app also supports listening to previews of song matches directly on the Apple Watch, with the interface displaying list of the last handful of songs that were identified.

Shazam can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Snapchat Gains Shazam Integration, Group Chats, and Sticker Creation

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Snapchat has gained Shazam's music recognizing abilities in its camera screen, which Shazam says is an even easier way to discover new songs and send each one to friends as Snaps. To use the new feature, all users have to do is press and hold anywhere on the Snapchat camera screen when music is playing nearby to begin the Shazam process. From there they can dig deeper into more info about the song and artists thanks to a new Shazam card, and send the recommendation to friends.

snapchat-shazam-update
Today, Snapchat also announced a new group chat feature that the company says is meant to help family members stay in touch over the holidays. Up to 16 people can join in on the group message, and each one will be deleted after 24 hours, just like Snapchat's normal Stories section. Names of every participant are listed at the bottom of the window, so users can also tap one and jump into a one-on-one chat at any time.
Groups can be created while sending a Snap, or when you’re making a new Chat. When your friends are present in a Group Chat, we show their name at the bottom of the Chat. Simply tap their name to start a 1:1 Chat, and then easily return to the Group in one swipe! We call this Quick Chat, and it’s the fastest way to keep the conversation going with one friend without spamming the entire Group.
Two new "Creative Tools" will allow Snapchatters to create stickers from their own Snaps, using Scissors on the Preview Screen to cut a section of a picture out and turning it into a reusable sticker. A new Paintbrush tool will be available in the Memories section of the app and Snapchat says it "turns a Snap into an artistic masterpiece."

The update is available now for the iOS Snapchat app. [Direct Link]


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Shazam Backtracking After Mac App Discovered to Retain Microphone Access Even When Toggled Off

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Music-recognizing app Shazam retains access to the Mac's microphone, keeping it in a constant on state, even when Shazam has been turned off. The potentially worrisome feature was discovered by security researcher Patrick Wardle, who developed an app called "OverSight" to warn users of when other apps are using their webcam and microphone. After its launch, one OverSight user contacted Wardle and told him Shazam kept listening even after it was toggled off in settings.

Wardle, who's also an ex-NSA hacker, reverse-engineered Shazam's Mac app and posted his findings in a personal blog. What he discovered was that the app essentially keeps the Mac's microphone on to create a snappier user experience when song detection is required, but Wardle doesn't believe there's "any malice" to the company's desktop and laptop app.

shazam-mac-app-1
In a statement sent to Motherboard, Shazam's vice president of global communications, James Pearson, confirmed that the app keeps the microphone on but "the audio is not processed unless the user actively turns the app 'ON.'" In essence, Shazam for the Mac is constantly accessing the computer's microphone, but only gaining access to audio and processing user data when turned on.
“There is no privacy issue since the audio is not processed unless the user actively turns the app ‘ON.’” James Pearson, the VP of global communications for Shazam, said in an emailed statement. ”If the mic wasn’t left on, it would take the app longer to both initialize the mic and then start buffering audio, and this is more likely to result in a poor user experience where users ‘miss out’ on a song they were trying to identify.”
As Wardle summed it up on his blog:
In other words what 'OFF' appears to mean, is simply, "stop processing the recorded data" ...not cease recording.
Pearson refuted the idea that the always-on microphone was a bug, reiterating that the lack of audio processing in Shazam's off state was always the company's intended purpose for that mode, saying that "the user's decision not to leverage our app's functionality is fully respected" because of it. Since the report has become more widespread, Shazam's Chief Product Officer Fabio Santini confirmed to CNET that the company will be updating the Mac app within the next few days to change how the app works, in order "to show that we care, and we pay attention, and we want them to feel good about using Shazam on their Mac."

Despite Wardle's confirmation that Shazam appears to be largely truthful, with no recorded audio being sent, saved, or processed by the company when the app is turned off, he remained wary of Shazam's failure to disclose exactly how much access it has to the Mac's microphone before his discovery. This is mostly due to the fact that, although Shazam's intentions appear wholesome, another party could design malware that resides within the app and steals its toggled-off recordings, without the user ever being warned.
Again, though it appears that Shazam is always recording even when the user has toggled it 'OFF' I saw no indication that this recorded data is ever processed (nor saved, exfiltrated, etc). However, I still don't like an app that appears to be constantly pulling audio off my computers internal mic. As such, I'm uninstalling Shazam as quickly as possible!
On iOS, users have a bit more insight into Shazam's background functionality thanks to Apple's hard-to-miss red banner that sticks to the top of the screen when an iPhone's microphone is on in another app. Wardle's main problem appears to be a lack of a similar warning for users on the Mac side of things, saying that "users should know" what has access to their computer's input devices and when.

Check out his full breakdown of the Shazam Mac app here.

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Shazam Backtracking After Mac App Discovered to Retain Microphone Access Even When Toggled Off

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Music-recognizing app Shazam retains access to the Mac's microphone, keeping it in a constant on state, even when Shazam has been turned off. The potentially worrisome feature was discovered by security researcher Patrick Wardle, who developed an app called "OverSight" to warn users of when other apps are using their webcam and microphone. After its launch, one OverSight user contacted Wardle and told him Shazam kept listening even after it was toggled off in settings.

Wardle, who's also an ex-NSA hacker, reverse-engineered Shazam's Mac app and posted his findings in a personal blog. What he discovered was that the app essentially keeps the Mac's microphone on to create a snappier user experience when song detection is required, but Wardle doesn't believe there's "any malice" to the company's desktop and laptop app.

shazam-mac-app-1
In a statement sent to Motherboard, Shazam's vice president of global communications, James Pearson, confirmed that the app keeps the microphone on but "the audio is not processed unless the user actively turns the app 'ON.'" In essence, Shazam for the Mac is constantly accessing the computer's microphone, but only gaining access to audio and processing user data when turned on.
“There is no privacy issue since the audio is not processed unless the user actively turns the app ‘ON.’” James Pearson, the VP of global communications for Shazam, said in an emailed statement. ”If the mic wasn’t left on, it would take the app longer to both initialize the mic and then start buffering audio, and this is more likely to result in a poor user experience where users ‘miss out’ on a song they were trying to identify.”
As Wardle summed it up on his blog:
In other words what 'OFF' appears to mean, is simply, "stop processing the recorded data" ...not cease recording.
Pearson refuted the idea that the always-on microphone was a bug, reiterating that the lack of audio processing in Shazam's off state was always the company's intended purpose for that mode, saying that "the user's decision not to leverage our app's functionality is fully respected" because of it. Since the report has become more widespread, Shazam's Chief Product Officer Fabio Santini confirmed to CNET that the company will be updating the Mac app within the next few days to change how the app works, in order "to show that we care, and we pay attention, and we want them to feel good about using Shazam on their Mac."

Despite Wardle's confirmation that Shazam appears to be largely truthful, with no recorded audio being sent, saved, or processed by the company when the app is turned off, he remained wary of Shazam's failure to disclose exactly how much access it has to the Mac's microphone before his discovery. This is mostly due to the fact that, although Shazam's intentions appear wholesome, another party could design malware that resides within the app and steals its toggled-off recordings, without the user ever being warned.
Again, though it appears that Shazam is always recording even when the user has toggled it 'OFF' I saw no indication that this recorded data is ever processed (nor saved, exfiltrated, etc). However, I still don't like an app that appears to be constantly pulling audio off my computers internal mic. As such, I'm uninstalling Shazam as quickly as possible!
On iOS, users have a bit more insight into Shazam's background functionality thanks to Apple's hard-to-miss red banner that sticks to the top of the screen when an iPhone's microphone is on in another app. Wardle's main problem appears to be a lack of a similar warning for users on the Mac side of things, saying that "users should know" what has access to their computer's input devices and when.

Check out his full breakdown of the Shazam Mac app here.

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Shazam Update Brings Support for Music Detection Within Messages

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Popular music-detecting app Shazam today rolled out an update that adds support for the service within Messages, so users can send new artist and song discoveries directly to friends and family members.

To use Shazam in Messages, make sure the app is updated to version 10.1.0, then open Messages, navigate to the contact you want to send a song to, and tap the App icon to the left of the conversation box. Shazam will now be in your App Drawer, so either tap the four dots on the bottom left corner of the screen, or swipe through each app until you reach it.

shazam-ios-messages
The only user interface option within the Messages app for Shazam is "Touch to Shazam," so whenever a song is playing nearby, allow the app to listen and once it does it'll create a card to send to the current contact. The created message can be tapped on to jump into Shazam, buy the track on iTunes, or listen to it on Apple Music.

With its new update Shazam is joining a collection of existing apps that introduced support for the Messages App Store following the launch of iOS 10. In a recent Sensor Tower study, download growth for these apps was said to have increased profoundly after rolling out support for truncated, but helpful versions of each app in Messages.

Shazam can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store [Direct Link]. Those who already have the app should start seeing the update rolling out throughout the day.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
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‘Shazam for Brands’ Will Track User Activity to Launch Brand-Specific Ads

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

First making its name as the go-to app for music recognition software, Shazam has expanded into other media content like TV commercials, movie trailers, and radio ads in the past. This week, however, the company is officially announcing its push into brand-specific advertisement with a new initiative called "Shazam for Brands" (via AdAge).

Shazam for Brands
Using data accumulated from how users interact with the app, and a company's integrated brand advertisement, Shazam will attempt to pick out which artists and musical genre each brand should use to attract the widest swath of their particular audience. Before the official launch of Shazam for Brands, some of Shazam's past partners have included Marvel Studios, Nike and Clinique. Those partners provided fans with experiences like Shazamable movie posters and interactive music videos.
"Advertising had always been secondary, but now we are putting it front and center," said Greg Glenday, chief revenue officer at Shazam. "We are taking advertising seriously by adding stock and people. We sold ourselves short with the advertising industry by just selling banner ads and being transactional."
With such data, a brand will be able to purchase the landing page of a specific Shazam, called "clickable listening screens," so that their products can be displayed in conjunction with the a particular artist's song. Glenday said the new ad-push for the company won't bring any noticeable changes on the user side of things, and that all of Shazam's fans "will still receive the results they want without interruption."

Shazam for Brands will also allow the company's partners to incorporate Shazam's technology -- using the same, traditional Shazam app -- into their own marketing materials. For example, earlier in the month Coca-Cola introduced a Shazamable bottle design that prompted users to film a video of themselves lip-syncing to one of a handful of songs displayed on the drink's label.

Furthermore, the company is looking to get into the live-event business, in a festival centered around up-and-coming artists set to open later in the year. Shazam intends to use beacon technology to create an event where each performer will be able to be discovered by the app. Following today's launch, the company hasn't said who its next major advertising and brand partner will be, but it has created a new Shazam for Brands Twitter account so users can follow its progress on the social network.

Shazam is available on the App Store for free [Direct Link]. Users can also download Shazam Encore for $6.99 [Direct Link], negating all of the company's attempted advertisements.

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Shazam for iOS Can Now Add Songs to Apple Music Playlists

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Popular music discovery app Shazam has been updated to version 9.4.1, gaining the ability to add songs to an Apple Music playlist. With the new version of the app, Shazam can connect to Apple Music and add songs that are discovered right to an Apple Music playlist without leaving the Shazam app.

For those unfamiliar with Shazam, it is a popular app that is able to identify music that is playing, offering up song titles, music videos, and more.

shazamapplemusic
The new feature requires iOS 9.3, as the update enabled the ability for third-party apps to access Apple Music playlists. To use the feature, Shazam will need to be given permission to access and connect to Apple Music through the settings section of the app.

Once authorized, a song recognized by Shazam can be added to a playlist by tapping the "+" symbol in the upper right of the app. Songs can also be played in Apple Music, used to start a radio station, or opened in iTunes. Songs added to Apple Music are listed under a "My Shazam Tracks" playlist. Today's update also gives Apple Music subscribers the ability to listen to a song in full without leaving the app.
The new version of Apple Music is here - and it makes for an even better Shazam experience! Once you've upgraded to iOS 9.3, connect to Apple Music in Shazam settings and you'll be able to:

- Add any Shazam track to any of your Apple Music playlists.
- Find all your Shazams conveniently saved to a 'My Shazam Tracks' playlist in Apple Music.
- Listen to any song in FULL, without leaving Shazam!
Shazam can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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