Spotify acquires UK startup Sonalytic to help improve publishing data

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Spotify has acquired British-born audio detection technology company Sonalytic for an undisclosed fee – and it’s going to use the startup to launch new products.

Sonalytic is less than a year old, after being founded in April last year.

The company has built patent-protected technology which claims to “identify individual songs, mixed content and short audio clips with unparalleled robustness and speed”.

Spotify said in a statement today: ” The Sonalytic team is passionate about creating technology to improve the music ecosystem for artists and fans.

“Their advancements in audio feature detection will be used in several ways to advance Spotify’s mission: from improving Spotify’s personalized playlists to matching songs with compositions to improve our publishing data system. Stay tuned for new products we’ll bring to market with Sonalytic’s help.”

What will these new products entail? That’s the really interesting bit.

Sonalytic offers three services based on its technology to would-be customers at present:

  • Identification: Sonalytic says that it can identify a lot more than just songs – and can actually track stems of music used in remix material. This could feasibly be used to allow unofficial remixes onto the Spotify platform, for which the service could presumably now identify samples via Sonalytic;
  • Monitoring: Sonalytic offers clients a monitoring service which identifies tracks being used on TV and radio abroad via online simulcasts, in addition to creating ‘big data’ to show the listening habits of those hearing a piece of music across myriad platforms. And, as pointed out by Spotify, this extends to composition information for tracks. Good news for songwriters and publishers;
  • Discovery: No secret why this one would have appealed to Spotify. Sonalytic says it can create the perfect playlist for individuals using ‘machine-learning algorithms which learn what you like (and what you don’t), then find the music you’ll love’.

One wonders how the ‘monitoring’ part of this trio might help with Spotify’s settlement with music publishers in the US market, and its commitment to better songwriter metadata.

“It’s clear to all of us that the current trajectory of the music industry is dire,” the company told the Imperial Create Lab blog last year. “Even though people are listening to more music than ever before, the associated revenues have been in sustained decline for more than a decade.

“Ultimately, artists — and particularly smaller, independent artists — are losing out, to the extent it’s necessary for many musicians to work a second job to fund their passion. We believe that by helping to monetize music in new and innovative ways, this broken model can be fixed.”Music Business Worldwide

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