Shazam, which creates “acoustic fingerprints” of music and returns song information and links for smartphone owners to buy or listen the tune, has been downloaded more than 1bn times. The app is already used by Apple’s assistant Siri, allowing users to ask: “What song is playing?”
Shazam is the latest in a string of British tech firms to be snapped up by overseas companies since the fall in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote. Microchip designer ARM Holdings was sold to Japan’s Softbank for £24bn last year. Hertfordshire-based Chipmaker Imagination Technologies was sold to China-backed private equity firm Canyon Bridge for £550m earlier this year.
A spokesman for Shazam, which was founded in 1999, said: “ Shazam is one of the highest rated apps in the world and loved by hundreds of millions of users and we can’t imagine a better home for Shazam to enable us to continue innovating and delivering magic for our users.”
Neither side would officially say how much Apple had paid, but a figure of about $400m has been reported, less than half the $1bn the app was last valued at when it tapped investors for cash in 2015.
The US company, which revolutionised music with the introduction of the the iPod and iPhone, said Shazam was a natural fit for its Apple Music streaming service.