With Apple’s acquisition complete, Shazam will soon go ad-free

Nearly 10 months after it was first announced, Apple’s acquisition of Shazam is now complete. The Shazam experience will soon be ad-free. 

Nearly 10 months after it was first announced, Apple’s acquisition of Shazam is now complete. Along with the purchase, Apple announced it plans on making the Shazam experience ad-free soon. ... Read the rest of this post here


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Apple closes its $400M Shazam acquisition and says the music recognition app will soon become ad free

Last year, we broke the news that Apple was buying the music recognition startup and app Shazam for about $400 million, and nearly one year later, the deal has finally closed. Today, Apple announced that it has completed the acquisition, and that it would soon be making the service ad free to use for everyone, […]

Last year, we broke the news that Apple was buying the music recognition startup and app Shazam for about $400 million, and nearly one year later, the deal has finally closed. Today, Apple announced that it has completed the acquisition, and that it would soon be making the service ad free to use for everyone, removing the app’s ad-supported free tier.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

It’s not clear how Apple longer term will integrate Shazam’s core product into its service — a pretty clever piece of technology that can identify a song by hearing a fragment of it. The two main directions appear to be to let it continue to remain a standalone app longer term, or to subsume part or all of it into a bigger Apple Music offering. (The two are not mutually exclusive.)

At $400 million — a figure confirmed to us by several sources when we were first reporting on the deal — Shazam is one of Apple’s biggest acquisitions both in music and overall, and it underscores the amount of investment that the iPhone maker is willing to put into expanding its role as a force not just in hardware, but in the services that run on that hardware.

In music, it’s in hot competition with over-the-top providers like Spotify — which, along with Snap, was also looking into buying Shazam — and Pandor, (which is now going to be a part of SiriusXM. Other notable Apple acquisitions specifically in music have included the acquisition of Beats, which became the basis of Apple Music, which Apple acquired for $3 billion in 2014.

In May, Apple announced that it has passed the 50 million user mark for Apple Music.

The deal comes three weeks after the EU finally gave a green light to the deal after Apple first made public its intention to buy the startup. (We write “startup” only in name: it was venture-backed to the tune of about $143 million but had been around since 1999.)

The app has hundreds of millions of users and had passed 1 billion downloads back in September 2016, but it had never managed to turn a profit.

In September 2017, Shazam reportedly made £40.3 million ($54 million) in revenues in its 2016 fiscal year, which was a turnaround from the declines between FY 2014 and 2015. It made a statutory pre-tax loss of £4 million ($5.3 million) in 2016, which was still a loss but significantly smaller than the £16.6 million loss in FY 2015.

Although it is one of the most popular apps in the music category, Apple was not found to be making an antitrust violation in buying it.

“Any concerns in that respect were dismissed because Shazam’s data is not unique and Apple’s competitors would still have the opportunity to access and use similar databases,” the EU noted in its approval earlier this month.

More to come.

Potentially bad news for Spotify as EU approves Apple’s planned acquisition of Shazam

The regulators have concluded that the proposed acquisition of Shazam by Apple would not reduce choice for users of streaming music services in Europe, like Sweden-headquartered Spotify.

As expected, the European Union antitrust regulators have officially approved Apple’s planned acquisition of Shazam, the British music discovery app, for a reported $400 million.... Read the rest of this post here


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Apple’s Shazam acquisition cleared by EU regulators

European regulators have given the green light to Apple’s December 2017 acquisition of music and image recognition discovery firm Shazam. Apple Music is the second largest music streaming service in Europe, after Spotify . While Shazam offers what has been described as “a leading music recognition app” in the region (and globally). TechCrunch broke the […]

European regulators have given the green light to Apple’s December 2017 acquisition of music and image recognition discovery firm Shazam.

Apple Music is the second largest music streaming service in Europe, after Spotify . While Shazam offers what has been described as “a leading music recognition app” in the region (and globally).

TechCrunch broke the news of the acquisition last year — reporting the price for Apple picking up the veteran UK startup to be in the region of $400 million. Apple confirmed our scoop a few days later.

But two months later European Union competition regulators said they were reviewing the deal, a move triggered by concerns raised by multiple countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Then in April the Commission stepped the review up into a full-blown investigation.

Today, after carrying out its in-depth probe, the Commission says it’s satisfied the deal will not adversely affect competition in the EEA — and has given it the go-ahead.

Commenting in a statement, antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, said: “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, to ensure they do not restrict competition. After thoroughly analysing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market.”

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.

In reaching this decision, the Commission found that Apple and Shazam mainly offer complementary services that do not compete with each other.

It says its investigation looked at:

  • whether Apple would obtain access to commercially sensitive data about customers of its competitors for the provision of music streaming services in the EEA, and whether such data could allow Apple to directly target its competitors’ customers and encourage them to switch to Apple Music. As a result, competing music streaming services could have been put at a competitive disadvantage
  • considering Shazam’s strong position in the market for music recognition apps, whether Apple Music’s competitors would be harmed if Apple, after the transaction, were to discontinue referrals from the Shazam app to them

The decision to clear the deal was made after what it describes as “a wide range of investigative measures” were undertaken. It also says it took feedback from “key market participants in the digital music industry, including providers of music streaming and music recognition services, as well as other stakeholders”.

It said today that it does not believe the merged entity will be able to shut out competing providers by accessing commercially sensitive data about their customers — viewing Shazam’s data holdings as unable to “materially increase Apple’s ability to target music enthusiasts”.

It also does not believed the merged entity could shut out competing providers by restricting access to the Shazam app — saying the app has “a limited importance as an entry point to the music streaming services of Apple Music’s competitors”.

The Commission has also judged the combined user datasets of Shazam and Apple as not able to confer “a unique advantage to the merged entity in the markets on which it operates”.

“Any concerns in that respect were dismissed because Shazam’s data is not unique and Apple’s competitors would still have the opportunity to access and use similar databases,” it added.

Reuters: EU antitrust regulators will approve Apple-Shazam deal on September 18

EU’s antitrust regulators should approve Apple’s acquisition of the British music identification service on September 18.

The Apple and Shazam agreement may be approved unconditionally in Europe

Apple’s acquisition of the British music identification service Shazam should be approved by the European Commission antitrust regulators after all, a new report has alleged.... Read the rest of this post here


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5 Apps to Identify a Song by Humming, Tapping on Keyboard, or Asking Others

identify-song-apps

When you come across a song you don’t know, you can usually use Shazam or SoundHound to find its name. But if the song is stuck in your head, these music identifying apps can’t work. That’s when you need something different. You have multiple options, all of which we’ll tackle here. There are sites that let you hum the tune or tap the beat on the keyboard, and the site will try to guess based on that. Or you can go to certain forums to ask others. Here are your best options. Wat Zat Song (Web): Sing a Sample for…

Read the full article: 5 Apps to Identify a Song by Humming, Tapping on Keyboard, or Asking Others

When you come across a song you don’t know, you can usually use Shazam or SoundHound to find its name. But if the song is stuck in your head, these music identifying apps can’t work. That’s when you need something different.

You have multiple options, all of which we’ll tackle here. There are sites that let you hum the tune or tap the beat on the keyboard, and the site will try to guess based on that. Or you can go to certain forums to ask others. Here are your best options.

Wat Zat Song (Web): Sing a Sample for People to Identify

The easiest way to express that tune stuck in your head is to sing it out loud. Wat Zat Song is a web app made to let you post a quick recording, which others can then comment on.

You’ll need to sign up to get started. Click the “Post a Sample” button, and wait for it to prompt you to record your voice. Lean in to your microphone and belt out the best rendition you can of the tune you want to know. Turn it into a post and wait for the community to weigh in.

While you wait, you can help others who are similarly stuck. Click “Listen” on any post to hear the audio, and then answer it if you can. You can also “follow” any post so that you’ll get a notification when there are any updates on it.

Name That Song (Reddit): Reddit’s Song Identification Community

Of course, there is an entire subreddit dedicated to naming songs that you can’t identify. In fact, there are two, but we’ll get to the other one later. For now, head over to r/NameThatSong to figure out that tune.

As with most Reddit communities, there are some rules on how to format your posts, so read those first. Plus, adhere to the age-old rules of what not to do on Reddit. You can usually make a text post, but don’t be afraid to upload a quick video of yourself singing that tune.

While Name That Song is all about music, you can also try your luck at r/TipOfMyTongue. This one isn’t limited to music alone, and also helps you find books without authors, or movies without actors, or just about anything else. It’s a much larger community that Name That Song, so you might have better luck there.

Identification of Music Group (Facebook): The Best in the Business

The Identification of Music Group (IoMG) is about three years old now and is one of the best Facebook groups you can follow. It has over 95,000 members and gets about 50,000 posts every month. The entire group has one purpose: to help you figure out what that tune is.

Like with the Reddit group, you can ask the question in various ways. You could write it as a question and give context, or use a homemade recording of yourself singing, humming, or recreating the tune in any way.

The group has a few rules that you should familiarize yourself with first. They want you to do a few basic steps before you post, like trying to find the tune on Shazam, search old posts, and generally be respectful and helpful. Do that and the whole group will rally around you to help you identify that tune.

Find Music By Lyrics (Web): When You Only Know a Few Words

With some songs, you have a few words in your head, but not all the lyrics. And if the words are too common, you need to prime Google search with operators. Find Music By Lyrics (FMBL) makes the process easy.

You can type an artist’s name, a song, or a few words of the lyrics to get a match in seconds. FMBL has a bunch of Google operators already clubbed in, making it easier to use than Google itself.

For example, try searching for the phrase “look who’s crawling lyrics” in Google. You’ll get a bunch of links to Linkin Park’s song, Crawling. But do the same search in FMBL and you’ll get results for that phrase from different songs, like Still Tippin’ by Mike Jones, Boris The Spider by The Who, and Wedding Dress by Melee.

Musipedia (Web): Tap a Beat or Play a Virtual Piano

If you need to know the answer immediately, you can’t wait for a reply on these forums. Musipedia uses AI and some innovative methods to search for your song. Here are the various ways:

  1. You can tap the beat of the song on your computer’s keyboard, and hope to identify it based on that.
  2. You can sing into your microphone.
  3. You can use a virtual piano to play notes on it. You can also use your mouse to “compose” a tune on the piano, which is easier than playing it.
  4. The “music contour search” is the most complicated, and you should only use that if you’ve exhausted all the other options.

Musipedia isn’t new, and we’ve talked about it before, but it still remains the best app for this kind of internet magic.

The Best Music Identification App?

These apps are only going to be useful when you can’t play that song again and it’s only stuck in your head. But when the song is playing, you should use something like Shazam. So what’s the best music identification app today?

Image Credit: SIphotography/Depositphotos

Read the full article: 5 Apps to Identify a Song by Humming, Tapping on Keyboard, or Asking Others

Here are some of the movie and TV trailers to come out of San Diego Comic-Con 2018

Over the course of a weekend we got a glimpse at some of the coming seasons and movies for various sci-fi, superhero, and other types of highly-anticipated fan-favorite franchises from the San Diego Comic-Con this year. Here’s a quick selection of some of the ones shown over the weekend: Aquaman Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of […]

Over the course of a weekend we got a glimpse at some of the coming seasons and movies for various sci-fi, superhero, and other types of highly-anticipated fan-favorite franchises from the San Diego Comic-Con this year.

Here’s a quick selection of some of the ones shown over the weekend:

Aquaman

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Godzilla: King of Monsters

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Disenchantment

Arrow: Season 7

Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 2

Doctor Who

Nightflyers

Titans

The Walking Dead: Season 9

Black Lightning

Young Justice

Legacies

Star Trek: Discovery — Season 2

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

The Flash

Supergirl

Glass

Shazam

The Gifted

Legacies

Warner Bros. unveils the first trailers for ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Shazam’

Today at Comic-Con, Warner Bros . gave fans a peek at the first DC Comics films post-Justice League. Warner Bros. and DC had a bumpy 2017. There was the astonishing critical and commercial success of Wonder Woman, followed by the box office disappointment of Justice League — leading to an executive shakeup and a general rethinking […]

Today at Comic-Con, Warner Bros . gave fans a peek at the first DC Comics films post-Justice League.

Warner Bros. and DC had a bumpy 2017. There was the astonishing critical and commercial success of Wonder Woman, followed by the box office disappointment of Justice League — leading to an executive shakeup and a general rethinking of its movie strategy.

Will Aquaman, which stars Jason Momoa as the titular superhero and is due out on December 21, turn things around? Director James Wan told the Comic-Con audience that his goal is to create a movie that “plays more like a science-fiction fantasy film than a traditional super hero movie.”

Wan (who’s best-known for horror titles like Saw and The Conjuring but also directed Furious 7) previously said there’s been a long wait for the trailer because he wanted to ensure the visual effects were ready — and after watching this footage, you can see what he was talking about.

The trailer does spend some time establishing the relationships between Aquaman, his love interest Mera (Amber Heard), his mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and his half-brother/rival Orm (Patrick Wilson). My real takeaway, though, is that this is going to be a spectacular, effects-filled movie with plenty of undersea action.

Then there’s Shazam!, which looks like it could be DC’s first outright comedy.

With the film’s release date (April 5, 2019) still nearly a year away, this trailer seems to focus on a few key scenes setting up the premise, with young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) gifted by a mysterious stranger with the ability to turn into a big red superhero (Zachary Levi) by just calling out the word “Shazam!” (The character was originally known as Captain Marvel, but I assume that they’ll stick with the Shazam name in the movie.)

Like Wan, director David F. Sandberg has previously helmed horror movies (specifically Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation), but the trailer makes it clear that he’s taking a light-hearted approach to the material. Despite his appearance as an invulnerable superhero, this version of Shazam is still a goofy kid.

And if you were hoping for a glimpse at Wonder Woman 1984, it sounds like the filmmakers did show off footage at Comic-Con, but they don’t have a polished trailer yet to put online.

Director Patty Jenkins said she looks at the movie as less of a sequel and more a standalone story with the same character: “We can make a whole new movie that’s as strong and unique as the first. It’s not more of anything; it’s its own thing.”

Oh, and stop reading now if you don’t want to be spoiled for a year-old movie, but if you’re wondering why Chris Pine is in 1984 when his character Steve Trevor appeared to die in the first Wonder Woman: Apparently there were no answers forthcoming during the panel.