Sponsored by: Shake – Bug, Feedback, and Crash Reporting Tool for Your Mobile App
This week on MacStories Unwind:
- MacStories Weekly
- A collection of John’s favorite Apple event moments
- Accessorizing the new iPad mini
- AppStories will be recorded live in the Club MacStories+ Discord community next Monday, September 20th at 5:30 PM Eastern
Today, Shazam surpassed 1 billion songs recognized using its Music Recognition control available in iOS and iPadOS’s Control Center. That’s a huge number, especially considering that the feature was first added in iOS and iPadOS 14.2 less than a year ago.
The Music Recognition control can be added to Control Center from the Settings app. When tapped, the feature creates a digital fingerprint of the audio and sends it over the Internet for matching against Shazam’s database of songs, securely and privately making a match without sending the actual audio. In addition to recognizing songs playing around you, the feature can recognize songs played in any app and even while you’re wearing AirPods.
According to Apple, the ten most Shazamed songs from Control Center are:
- “Talking To The Moon” - Bruno Mars
- “Astronaut In The Ocean” - Masked Wolf
- “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” - Lil Nas X
- “Beggin” - Måneskin
- “Another Love” - Tom Odell
- “Runaway” - AURORA
- “Dick” - StarBoi3 Feat. Doja Cat
- “Arcade” - Duncan Laurence
- “Stay” - The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber
- “drivers license” - Olivia Rodrigo
Earlier this summer, the Shazam app crossed 1 billion daily songs recognized and a lifetime total of over 50 billion. With the release of iOS and iPadOS 15, developers will be able to incorporate song recognition into their own apps using ShazamKit, which will undoubtedly accelerate the number of songs recognized even further.
The Music Recognition control doesn’t save songs it recognizes to the Shazam app, which I wish it did, but when iOS and iPadOS 15 are released, users will be able to touch and hold the control to reveal a list of recently-recognized songs. Selecting a song from the list opens it in the Shazam app. Alternately, you can swipe left on an entry to delete it.
I’ve used Shazam since long before it was acquired by Apple, and the Music Recognition control has become one of my most-used Control Center features since it launched. Whether I’m out somewhere and hear a song I like or watching a TV show with an interesting soundtrack, quickly swiping down to access Control Center has become an ingrained habit at this point.
* MacStadium – The Developer Cloud for Mac.
This week on Unwind, John is joined by Alex Guyot to recap the week, including John’s story about the 5th anniversary of the App Store Review Guidelines comic book, milestones reached by Apple’s Shazam service, plus Apple Podcasts channels and subscriptions, developer reactions to WWDC, and TV and movie Unwind picks.
- MacStories Weekly
- Federico on his new iOS and iPadOS review Focus mode
- John imagines his ideal research app
- An interview with Apollo developer Christian Selig
- A Pillow giveaway
- A reader poll
- Alex Guyot’s Pick:
- John’s Pick:
WWDC saw the introduction of ShazamKit, a new framework that will allow third-party developers to incorporate the song recognition service into their own apps. Less than a week later, Apple has said that the service has surpassed 1 billion songs recognized per month for a total of over 50 billion Shazams since the service launched.
“Shazam is synonymous with magic,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, “both for the fans getting a song recognition almost instantly, and for the artists being discovered. With 1 billion recognitions a month, Shazam is one of the most popular music apps in the world. Today’s milestones show not only people’s love for Shazam, but also the ever-growing appetite for music discovery around the world.”
To put the 1 billion per month figure into context, Shazam, which was founded as a text messaging service in 2002, took 10 years to reach its first billion songs recognized. The recognition rate has been steadily increasing since then for a lifetime total of over 50 billion songs matched.
This fall, when Apple’s updated OSes are released, the monthly rate of Shazam matches is poised to accelerate further as developers begin adding ShazamKit to their apps. The new song matching framework was announced last week at WWDC and will allow developers to add functionality to their apps to recognize songs and report information to users like the song’s name, the artist, genre, and other details.
I’ve used Shazam since it debuted when the App Store launched, and I’m intrigued to see what developers will do with it. For example, I could see it becoming a convenient way to add artists I’m following in Marcos Tanaka’s app MusicHarbor. With a wealth of third-party music apps already available on the App Store, I expect we’ll see many innovative uses of the new framework soon.
In December 2019, I published MusicBot, my all-in-one Apple Music shortcut to play music, get quick access to favorite albums and new releases, rediscover old gems in your music library, and lots more. MusicBot is one of the most complex shortcuts I’ve ever created and, along with Apple Frames, it’s among the shortcuts I use the most on a daily basis.
Over the past 11 months, MusicBot has been downloaded thousands of times from the MacStories Shortcuts Archive, and I’ve been saving a variety of ideas and user requests for features that would extend MusicBot’s capabilities and make it easier to use on iOS and iPadOS 14.
The result is MusicBot 1.1, the first substantial update to the original shortcut that introduces full support for iOS 14’s compact UI and Home Screen widgets, Shazam integration, the ability to read music news and check release dates inside MusicBot, plus other fixes and enhancements.
Let’s dive in.
Today Apple released the second major revision to iOS and iPadOS 14 since their introduction in September. The previous major update, 14.1, was largely just for iPhone 12 support and bug fixes. iOS and iPadOS 14.2 are packed with quite a few nice new additions to the operating system, and are available to the public as of this morning.
New Emoji and Wallpapers
iOS 14.2 packs over 100 new emoji, including a smiling face with a tear, a ninja, a toothbrush, and a pickup truck. Emojipedia covered the new emoji earlier in the beta cycle, and of course Federico attempted to guess all of their official names on an episode of Connected. My personal favorite is the new mousetrap emoji, which reminds me of the leprechaun traps that my sister and I used to set up the night before St. Patrick’s Day when we were growing up.
Eight new still wallpapers have also been released in today’s update. Some are photos of mountainous regions while others are scenic illustrations. Each new wallpaper includes a variation for light and dark mode.
Late last year, Apple announced that it had agreed to purchase Shazam, the music-discovery service. The acquisition was held up for a time by an investigation by the European Commission, which ultimately said the deal is not anti-competitive and could go forward. Today Apple announced that the deal had been completed.
In a press release, Apple said:
Shazam has been downloaded over 1 billion times around the world, and users identify songs using the Shazam app over 20 million times each day. With pioneering innovation in music identification, Shazam helps people discover, interact with and share video, audio or printed content across devices and mediums — and allows music fans to follow their favorite artists and share in the thrill of discovery.
Apple also announced that Shazam would soon be offered ad-free to all users.
Last December, Apple announced plans to acquire music-discovery service Shazam. The service, which makes iOS, watchOS, and macOS apps that can detect songs, TV shows, and advertisements from their sound signatures, has been on Apple’s platforms since the early days of iOS and is the engine behind Siri’s ability to recognize songs.
Since February, the deal has been on hold while the European Commission considered whether it would adversely impact competition. In a press release today, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, explained:
“Data is key in the digital economy. We must therefore carefully review transactions which lead to the acquisition of important sets of data, including potentially commercially sensitive ones, to ensure they do not restrict competition. After thoroughly analysing Shazam’s user and music data, we found that their acquisition by Apple would not reduce competition in the digital music streaming market.”
Elaborating on the Commission’s findings, Vestager said the Commission concluded that “Apple and Shazam mainly offer complementary services and do not compete with each other.”
There has been no official word from Apple on the Commission’s decision, but it should clear the way to allow that deal to be consummated soon.
Past MacStories coverage of Shazam is available here.
When Apple acquired Shazam, people wondered what would become of the popular song identification and music discovery app. It’s not unusual for an app acquired by a big company to be pulled from the App Store or for development to slow substantially. Questions were also raised about whether Shazam would continue to support Apple’s music streaming rival, Spotify.
As it turns out, Shazam has continued to be updated and support Spotify since Apple’s acquisition. In fact, there have been at least four updates to Shazam since the acquisition including one today that adds synchronized lyrics and a design refresh of the app’s results screen.
The new UI looks great. The results screen is dominated by a background image of the artist. In the foreground is a big play button, the name of the song the app recognized, and the name of the artist. If you tap on the artwork, you get an image of the artist and album in some cases, plus more details on the artist, album, song, and release date.
Along the top of the results screen is a menu you access by swiping horizontally that includes lyrics, videos, additional songs by the artist, and related artists. If you swipe over to the lyrics screen while a song is playing, they are displayed in perfect synchronization with the song that’s playing, which is perfect for impromptu karaoke moments. Adding songs to Apple Music and Spotify playlists has been streamlined too – it now takes one less tap to add a song to a playlist.
One thing to keep in mind though, is that if you’re using the iOS 11.3 beta, playback is broken throughout the app. Tapping on any play button freezes the entire UI and requires you to force quit the app. Playback works as expected if you’re not on the beta, however.
Shazam is available on the App Store.