Apple's Deal for Shazam Is Delayed in Europe Over Data Concerns

Apple Shazam

Companies EU Launches Investigation into Apple’s Takeover of Shazam

According to CNBC, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager announced an investigation into the deal, stating, "The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services".

"The Commission is concerned that the merger could reduce choice for users of music streaming services", it said in a statement.

Several countries called for an assessment under the EU Merger Regulation, including Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.

First reported by Reuters, the European Commission has formally moved to launch an "in-depth" four month investigation into the proposed deal before allowing or blocking Apple's takeover of Shazam.

Investigators will be digging into the case for the 90 working days and, based on the evidence gathered, the commission will either approve or deny the acquisition on or before September 4. The Shazam and Spotify apps identify songs by "listening" through a smartphone's microphone and direct users to iTunes and other services where they can purchase music. The app has also become a valuable source of data, giving music industry executives insight into what songs and artists are performing well and in what regions.

Apple didn't immediately reply to a request for comment about whether it would do any of those things.

Those rivals include Spotify, the global market leader. Access to such data could allow Apple to directly target its competitors' customers and encourage them to switch to Apple Music, therefore putting other music streaming services at a competitive disadvantage.

Apple Inc. has once again found itself in the crosshairs of the European Union's antitrust regulator.

The technology is also no longer quite as novel, with Shazam facing rivals such as SoundHound and with smartphones capable of ever more advanced recognition functions.

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