B2B digital-music firm Omnifone was placed into administration earlier this month, resulting in the layoff of up to 70 staff.

Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group is the company tasked with finding a buyer for Omnifone’s assets, including its MusicStation platform. Who would buy these assets, and why? It seems that Omnifone’s patents may be what tempts potential suitors most.

The company holds patents including for a ‘method of enabling digital music content to be downloaded to and used on a portable wireless computing device’ which was filed in August 2013 but only granted in March 2016.

But also see its patent for a ‘computer implemented method for automatically generating recommendations for digital media content’: granted in February 2014, this covers a system to “identify the user’s current media content library/ies; Analyse the content of those libraries, deriving a ‘taste signature’ for the user from that analysis; Match the derived “taste signature” to other media content and to other users; and provide the user with recommendations based on that automatic matching process”.

Another Omnifone patent, granted in August 2013, covers a ‘method of providing digital rights management for music content by means of a flat-rate subscription’ that includes “a digital rights management system that enables unlimited legal downloads of different music tracks to the device and also enables any of those tracks stored on the device to be played so long as a subscription service has not terminated”.

All of these could come in handy for a modern streaming service, eh? And it’s these patents, rather than the side of Omnifone’s business that saw it powering music services for Samsung, SiriusXM, Guvera and Neil Young’s PonoMusic, that may be the key to the sale of the company’s assets.

Take your pick of big digital-music players as the likely candidates: several sources have told Music Ally that they expect Apple to be in pole position to swoop in for a quick deal, but Spotify, Google, Pandora and others could all be candidates too.

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