The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the acquisition of Shazam by Apple under the EU Merger Regulation. The commission believes that the merger could reduce choice for users of music streaming services.
Back in February multiple countries, including Austria, France, Iceland, and Spain, requested European Commission to assess the acquisition to determine whether it’s allowed under a European Union merger law. The commission has now acted on the request with a deadline set to September 4th. Apple currently gets 1 million clicks per day through the Shazam app.
Since Shazam is still live, if Apple who has acquired the Shazam shuts down or only direct referrals to its own music service, Spotify could lose a significant amount of traffic. Additionally and most importantly, Apple could use the Shazam’s data to unfairly target its rivals’ users and “encourage them to switch to Apple Music.”
Apple confirmed the acquisition of music recognition app Shazam for $400 million back in December, and the transaction was notified to the Commission on 14 March 2018, and it now has 90 working days, until 4 September 2018 to come to a decision.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said:
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 choice as a result of this proposed merger.