Shazam is an amazing app and service — you let it “listen” to songs that are playing, and it can tell you what the song is, who the artist is, and even let you purchase that song. The way that Shazam is used by millions of users to point them towards streaming services like Spotify or purchase points like iTunes is exactly why Apple is proposing to acquire the service. Now the European Commission is investigating the proposed acquisition to see if it poses an antitrust threat.
The Commission’s investigation comes after calls from the governments of Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden to look into the acquisition under EU merger regulations. The Commission is concerned that the merger “could reduce choice for users of music streaming services.”
According to EU Competition Commission Margarethe Vestager — who is no stranger to poking the Commission’s nose into Apple’s business — “The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services. Our investigation aims to ensure that music fans will continue to enjoy attractive music streaming offers and won’t face less choices as a result of this proposed merger.”
The concern is that Apple would gain access to “commercially sensitive data about customers of its competitors” in the European Economic Area, which could allow Apple to determine ways to encourage users of competing streaming services to switch to Apple Music.
The Commission expects to make a decision on the matter by September 4, 2018.
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