Music tech firm Gracenote is in the process of being sold by current parent company Sony to media group Tribune, but it’s pushing on with its plans for 2014 in the meantime.

Key to those is something called Gracenote Rhythm, which will be officially announced later today. It’s a music recommendations API for internet radio that will launch for partners next month, going head-to-head with the technology offered by rival The Echo Nest.

On one level, Rhythm will offer those partners familiar features, including the ability for digital music services to auto-create streaming stations based on specific artists, songs, genres and moods, then for uses to refine them by liking and disliking tracks, as well as setting how mainstream or obscure they want the recommendations to be.

Gracenote is talking up its combination of metadata and human curation as the key to winning business. “The music industry has seen a lot of music services come and go with the exact same Internet Radio solutions that rely heavily on Web-scraped and auto-generated content. We’d like to see some real innovation in the market,” says president Stephen White. “At Gracenote, we believe there has to be a human component to creating and delivering Internet Radio – technology can’t do it alone.”

The Echo Nest has also talked publicly about the importance of both algorithms and humans for effective music recommendations, so both companies are singing from the same hymn sheet.

It’s too early to tell how well Rhythm shapes up as a platform – we’ll know more once developers and digital services start getting their hands dirty with it. But more competition in this particular space is a good thing for the music industry, at a time when personal radio and better-tuned recommendations are increasingly prominent.

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