WWDC 2021: ShazamKit lets Apple and Android developers add audio recognition

By Dan Moren

Shazam! It ain’t just a movie starring Sinbad. Apple integrated the song-recognition service into Siri back in iOS 8; four years later, it bought the whole company. Last fall, iOS and iPadOS 14.2 added a button for Shazam to Control Center, and as of this year, the company has rolled out an API for developers to take advantage of the technology: ShazamKit.


ShazamKit allows developers to add the song recognition feature into their own apps, but with a couple of interesting additions. For one thing, ShazamKit isn’t restricted to Apple’s own devices: in addition to the latest versions of iOS/iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, Apple has also provided documentation for building ShazamKit apps on Android.

In addition to being able to match against Apple’s extensive song catalog, ShazamKit allows developers to create a custom catalog of audio which it can then match against. This enables apps and services to provide audio-matching technology that’s not just limited to commercial music.

Shazam can match audio playing live or in a pre-recorded piece of audio or video. To protect user privacy, Apple suggest developers only use microphone access for as long as they need to identify a song—and because it uses a lossy sample to match the audio, other sounds in the track are discarded and can’t be reconstructed.

Shazam iOS 15
In iOS 15, users who don’t have the Shazam app installed can still view past matched audio in Control Center.

In a glance at a previously unannounced iOS/iPadOS 15 feature, those who don’t have the Shazam app installed will still be able to access their list of previously matched audio by pressing and holding on the Shazam icon in Control Center.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]

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