Apple bought Shazam. What does that mean? It depends upon whether you’re looking at where the hockey puck is today, or where it will be. Apple is skating to where the puck will be, not where it has been.
At first glance, the purchase might seem a perfect fit for Apple Music. Shazam is good at identifying music and that expertise can be put to use to help Apple Music find more of what you want to listen to.
That notion only identifies where the puck is now, not necessarily where it is going. I have a theory and that puck is in a different location.
What Shazam hears is audio frequencies, and the technology used to make the app work requires that it hear and compare sound frequencies, and then distinguish between them. That’s no mean feat, but Shazam does it perhaps better than any other app.
Shazam is a British app development company that created an app that can identify music, movies, advertising, and television shows, based on a short sample played and using the microphone on the device.
Let’s think about that for a moment. Shazam listens to all sound coming to the iPhone’s microphone, then differentiates what is useful– to match and identify music, movies, ads, and TV shows– with other extraneous sounds which are not useful. That’s the claim to fame. That’s where the puck is now.
Shazam is based upon technology which differentiates sounds as various frequencies picked up by the iPhone’s microphone. Siri responds to our voices but Siri cannot tell our voices apart from any other voice. Even Amazon’s Alexa can’t do that which is why radio disc jockeys and TV shows avoid the Alexa word, because it could trip Alexa into thinking someone is talking to it.
So, let’s take some of Shamazm’s sound identification technology and give it to Siri. Now what? Siri could identify us by voice. Let’s plug Shazam’s frequency identification technology into HomePod. The result? HomePod should be able to identify different voices in the same room, and know which one has been assigned control over HomePod’s settings and functions.
Shazam is all about technology that identifies specific sounds within a wall of sound picked up by a device’s microphone. Sure, Shazam will play nice-nice with Apple Music and help to determine more of what we may like to hear by identifying certain common sound frequencies, but that’s where the puck is today.
Shazam’s technology is perfect for Siri to be able to identify who we are by name and by voice. That is a big deal. We have Touch ID, Face ID, and now the possibility of Voice ID. Shazam isn’t just about music.