Spotify acquires 4th company in past 3 months – and looks set to buy more

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Spotify is splashing the cash in a bid to stay ahead of the competition.

Daniel Ek’s company has just announced its fourth acquisition of 2017 so far: French artificial intelligence startup Niland.

In a statement, Spotify said that the Paris-based company had already “changed the game for how AI technology can optimize music search and recommendation capabilities… [and] shares Spotify’s passion for surfacing the right content to the right user at the right time”.

You can expect Niland’s machine learning tools to further boost Spotify’s music discovery offering, which remains rooted in The Echo Nest – itself acquired for  just under $60m in May 2015.

The Niland team will join Spotify’s research and development (R&D) division in New York as part of the buyout.

Spotify added that Niland would “help [us] continue innovating and improving our recommendation and personalization technologies”.


Niland co-founders Damien Tardieu, Johan Pages, Christophe Charbuillet said in a joint statement: “Over the last 4 years, we’ve been a pioneer in the analysis of audio using deep learning technologies. We’ve achieved our vision of enabling computers to listen to music in a human way.

“Understanding the music content itself was the missing link to developing more sophisticated listening experiences. The best part of our journey was hearing from our clients how they were using Niland API to create innovative products that help musicians cut through noise. We are very happy to pursue this vision within Spotify.

“The best part of our journey was hearing from our clients how they were using Niland API to create innovative products that help musicians cut through noise. We are very happy to pursue this vision within Spotify.”

“Spotify has changed the music industry and revolutionized music consumption in less than a decade.

“Spotify has succeeded at bringing the most innovative products to the music streaming market with products for both fans and artists including Discover Weekly, Release Radar, Spotify for Artists among others. We couldn’t imagine a better partner for our next chapter.”


Interestingly, all of Spotify’s three other acquisitions this year have also involved buying innovative tech developers – whose potential as independents was arguably unfulfilled at the time of purchase.

Spotify bought UK startup Sonalytic in March to both improve publishing data and reap the benefits of audio recognition technology.

In the same month, it swallowed TV recommendation platform MightyTV – shutting down the app in order to harvest its tools to boost Spotify’s programmatic advertising abilities.

And in April, Spotify acquired blockchain firm Mediachain to further its “journey towards a more fair, transparent and rewarding music industry for creators and rights owners”.

Spotify is soon expected to post over $300m in operating losses for 2016, with annual revenues predicted to top $3bn.


Some of Spotify’s cash pile will be used to pay M&A veteran Sheila Spence, who has just joined the company from  ad giant WPP as VP of Corporate Development.

As Recode notes, the hire of Spence is a clear signal that Spotify is gearing up to acquire yet more companies.

Spence will report to Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy and will join at the end of this month.

If Spotify manages to pull off a direct listing on the NYSE at a valuation of $13bn, it should have some spare cash to play with.

Makes you wonder… who’s next on Daniel Ek’s shopping list?Music Business Worldwide

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