Amidst the rapidly accelerating convergence of the music and technology industries, a patent is perhaps the clearest and most protectable method of differentiation a company could aim for.
Just ask Spotify: earlier this month, MBW discovered that the music streaming platform had been granted a patent in the US for a new karaoke-like feature that allows users to “overlay a music track with their own vocals”.
That came after Spotify successfully filed another US patent, for a TikTok-esque fuction that would allow users to create “video moments” accompanied by music within the Spotify app.
Today we discover that another large-scale music company has secured what it describes as a “game-changer” patent in the US.
That company is Ingrooves Music Group, the Universal-owned music marketing services and distribution firm that works with a host of successful indie labels and artists.
The patent – which you can read in full through here – is for AI-powered marketing technology.
According to Ingrooves, it exclusively secures the company the rights for a proprietary method of using artificial intelligence to “detect significant shifts in audience engagement and identify high-value streaming audiences”.
In other words, Ingrooves’ invention identifies audiences who have a high likelihood of deepening their engagement and becoming long-term fans of individual artists.
Ingrooves can then advise its clients about their marketing strategies accordingly.
The tech relies on aggregate reporting data that contains no personally identifying information, ensuring that it is fully compliant with GDPR and CCPA rules.
“For the entire music industry, the biggest problem everyone has is how do you efficiently and effectively market in a world where over 60 million tracks are available at all times to consumers, and the principal relationship with the consumer is controlled by other companies, namely, the DSPs,” said Ingrooves CEO, Bob Roback, speaking to MBW.
“Core to [solving] that challenge for us was to focus on a strategy around not just gathering enormous amounts of data and trying to present them beautifully in an aggregated dashboard, but really try to move to the stage where we could actually help our clients make better decisions.”
In addition, MBW understands that the company expects to be awarded additional patents in the future.
Roback insists however, that “the goal here is not to build a patent portfolio”.
“For the entire music industry, the biggest problem everyone has is how do you efficiently and effectively market in a world where over 60 million tracks are available, and the principal relationship with the consumer is controlled by other companies – namely, the DSPs.”
Bob Roback, Ingrooves
“There’s value in a patent portfolio, but we’re not trying to invent for the sake of invention”, added Roback.
“We are trying to solve a very real business problem, so I can sit with an independent label head, artist manager and say, ‘By working with our platform, and insights and team, you are able to make much better decisions, spend your money more wisely, and respond to marketing opportunities more quickly’… The patent is formal recognition that this is an innovative and protectable approach that we’ve taken.”
Ingrooves has already started to integrate the new tech within its ‘Trends Now’ platform, which is described as “an algorithmic newsfeed of essential activity happening across a labels’ or artists’ music and fans”.
Additionally, later this year, Ingrooves plans to embed the freshly-patented technology into a new, proprietary ad-buying solution within the company’s Dispatch marketing platform, which was upgraded last month.
We’ve previously written about how Ingrooves has always prided itself on its technology-oriented operation, which intensified when Roback joined as CEO in 2015 from his role as President of guitar giant, Fender.
Ingrooves’ AI tech was developed in-house by Chief Analytics Officer Dr. SK Sharma and its internal AI team, which is comprised of word-class mathematicians and scientists.
Sharma, an expert data scientist, joined the company in 2016 with over a decade of experience as a senior executive at various venture capital, strategy consulting, and intellectual property firms.
As explained by Roback, his appointment in 2016 and the team he’s built since epitomizes Ingrooves commitment to technological innovation in the music industry.
“These are all individuals that have PhDs,” explained Roback. “They come from physics, they come from mathematics, they are statisticians and game theorists, but they want to apply those disciplines to a passion that they love, which is music and working against this massive set of music data that grows exponentially every day.”
Roback adds that this set of data “is the largest music data set in the industry, because it’s a combination of Ingrooves and Universal Music data on a global basis”.
“This technology helps to grow our artists’ and labels’ audiences by examining exceptionally large datasets at scale and recommending actionable marketing initiatives on the spot.”
Dr. SK Sharma, Ingrooves
Dr. Sharma said: “Music consumption generates an enormous trove of data, but it’s only valuable to artists and labels if it can be used to analyze audience behavior and translated into real-time marketing options quickly.
“This technology helps to grow our artists’ and labels’ audiences by examining exceptionally large datasets at scale and recommending actionable marketing initiatives on the spot.
“With this patented AI-based approach, our clients will benefit even further from our unparalleled ability to unlock marketing opportunities from the richest music data in the world.”Music Business Worldwide