By Kevin Kelleher
September 25, 2018

Apple’s $400 million purchase of Shazam has officially closed. Which means Apple now owns Shazam. And for Shazam users, that may soon bring a much-appreciated perk: Ads on the app will soon go away.

Apple’s Monday announcement of the deal closing said that the “app will soon offer its experience ad-free for all users.” Shazam allows users to identify a song playing in a bar, restaurant or an archaic technology like the car radio by letting the app listen to a fragment of the music and matching it to the millions of songs in its database.

Shazam was one of the first app sensations in the era of the smartphone. One giddy reviewer in 2009 called it “the closest a cell phone can come to magic.” The app remains a popular utility. It’s been downloaded more than a billion times, has 150 million active users per month, and is still used to identify 20 million songs a day, Apple says. Shazam app is currently the seventh most popular music app in Apple’s store.

“Apple and Shazam have a long history together,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music said in a statement. “Shazam was one of the first apps available when we launched the App Store and has become a favorite app for music fans everywhere.”

For all Shazam’s popularity, the company has not found a way to make money from its users the way social-media and some other popular apps have. Apple announced its acquisition of Shazam last December for a reported price of $400 million. That was below the $1 billion valuation that the company had after a 2015 round of private funding, according to Pitchbook.

Apple may be hoping that Shazam’s frequent users will become Apple Music subscribers. Apple Music had 36 million subscribers earlier this year. One early Shazam investor, DL Capital, said Apple’s ownership of Shazam could bring another 7.5 million subscribers to its music-streaming surface.

Currently, once Shazam identifies a song, it presents users with a large button to buy or play the song on Apple Music. There are also options to stream the song on Spotify and Deezer—Google Play, once an option on Shazam, is now absent—although those options are in finer print at the bottom of Shazam’s app display.

The Apple-Shazam deal closed on a day when another music app was acquired. Satellite radio company SiriusXM said on Monday it would buy streaming-music pioneer Pandora for $3.5 billion.

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