March 7, 2017:Spotify buys startup Sonalytic: here’s our primer on who they are

Spotify buys startup Sonalytic: here’s our primer on who they are

Spotify has acquired British music/tech startup Sonalytic for an undisclosed amount. The streaming service announced the deal this afternoon.

“We’re happy to announce that Sonalytic is joining the Spotify family. The Sonalytic team is passionate about creating technology to improve the music ecosystem for artists and fans,” explained its blog post.

“Their advancements in audio feature detection will be used in several ways to advance Spotify’s mission: from improving Spotify’s personalised playlists to matching songs with compositions to improve our publishing data system.”

If you haven’t heard of Sonalytic, that’s no surprise: it hasn’t done much press since being founded. However, we did write about it in Music Ally’s recent music startups report. Here’s what we said:

“UK-based startup Sonalytic was mentioned as one to watch by several industry figures during the research for this report – despite being under the media radar so far.

On one level, it is comparable to Shazam, with technology to identify not just individual songs, but shorter clips and “mixed content” (think mash-ups and remixes). The technology will be offered through a web interface for ‘low-volume’ clients, and through a full API for bigger customers. The ability to locate musical stems within derivative works taps in to a problem being tackled by several other companies, from SoundCloud to Dubset and MetaPop.

Sonalytics also offers monitoring technology for rightsholders, creating a database of music plays from TV channels and radio stations around the world, then providing detailed analytics to clients to understand what’s being played where. The company is also planning to work with venues and festivals to monitor what’s playing – displaying the results in their apps and websites using its widget.

Meanwhile, Sonalytic is also tackling the music-discovery challenge, with machine-learning technology to learn the preferences of music listeners, then recommending suitable tracks and playlists. If Sonalytic’s technology can deliver on its promises, clients should not be hard to find.”

That last point is obviously moot now, but we’ll be interested to see what Spotify does with Sonalytics’ tech and team in the months ahead: improving its publishing data system in particular is an urgent priority not just for Spotify, but for its rivals.

Stuart Dredge
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