How the Music Identifier app became an iOS must-have
Shazam has been around for two decades now, and the popular music identification app has seen significant changes throughout that time.
Anyone looking for the name of a song playing in their environment has probably searched Shazam – the popular music identifier embedded in many other apps and services – throughout its two-decade history. While it may not be familiar to every user, Shazam powers in-service song identification far beyond the standalone app. Over the years, the app has become more prominent, both in the tech industry and among individual users. Although it’s now common to refer to Shazam as a benchmark for song identification, the transition from a small text messaging service to an Apple-owned tech giant is a journey that spans $70 billion. song recognition.
The service fulfilled a need sought by many – the ability to identify the name of a song heard in the user’s environment. This can sometimes be accomplished by asking someone nearby or searching the web for lyrics, but that’s not always a solution. For example, if the lyrics are hard to make out – or if there are no lyrics at all – it may seem impossible to find the name of the track. That’s where Shazam came in, as a service that can identify songs in just seconds. Using the built-in microphones on modern devices, Shazam was able to identify songs playing in a user’s environment with impressive accuracy and found success.
In 2022, Shazam passed the twenty-year milestone as a music identification service – reaching impressive milestones in this era – prompting reflection on how it grew from a small text messaging service to a platform. form integrated into Apple’s iOS. Shazam was created in 2002 as a small text messaging service in Europe and was very different from the app known today. Instead of using an app to identify songs, users had to dial “2580” on their mobile phone and hold the device close to the music. Users then hung up and received an SMS identifying the song playing in their environment. It would take six more years for Shazam to be listed on the App Store, shortly after the release of the first iPhone.
Shazam becomes integrated into Apple’s operating systems
Shazam was launched on Apple’s App Store in July 2008 as one of the first third-party apps on the company’s new operating system, designed for the iPhone. Rapid integration with Apple devices was later associated with the advancement of Shazam, as it brought its app to the first Apple Watch in 2015. Three years later, Apple acquired Shazam and began to assimilate its service into its proprietary operating system. Shazam was already available on third-party apps, like Snapchat, but Apple’s acquisition brought Shazam to iOS. Instead of downloading the standalone app, iOS users could simply ask Siri to identify a song with Shazam functionality.
Apple often acquires companies that create robust iOS, iPadOS, macOS, or watchOS apps to integrate these functions directly into their operating systems. However, the acquisition of Shazam particularly benefited Apple due to its music-related products and services. Apple sells audio devices for listening to music – namely AirPods headphones and HomePod speakers – and also offers a streaming service, Apple Music. The integration benefits Apple and its users because people can identify a song and listen to it directly in Apple Music, or add it to their library. Shazam has come a long way since its beginnings as a text messaging service two decades ago, and it’s now a staple of Apple’s operating systems.