Spotify’s latest acquisition is its latest move to tackle the problems it has faced identifying, tracking and paying royalties to music publishers and songwriters. The company has snapped up Loudr, which does exactly that, for an undisclosed amount.

“Loudr will continue to provide select services to its publishing and aggregator partners, while contributing to Spotify’s continued efforts towards a more transparent and efficient music publishing industry for songwriters and rights holders,” explained Spotify in its announcement.

“The Loudr team perfectly complements Spotify’s music publishing operation and, together, we believe we can continue to foster a more open, streamlined, and modern music publishing landscape,” added its global head of publishing Adam Parness.

Loudr’s founder and CEO Chris Crawford is taking up a position as head of US publisher relations and services at Spotify as part of the acquisition.

Which has made us remember his interview with Music Ally in August 2017, when he described Spotify’s $43.3m mechanical-royalties settlement with US publishers as “terrible because it’s basically a speeding ticket for not doing things correctly”.

Today’s news didn’t have an impact on Spotify’s share price – the first time we’ve been able to say that about an acquisition – but there’s something else we’re thinking about this deal.

It shows the importance of startups trying to tackle some of these longstanding, difficult problems around rights and metadata. If Loudr’s exit encourages more founders to focus on this area (and more investors to back them) that will be a good thing. But in the meantime, we’re positive about how Loudr can help Spotify.

“To really solve that problem, it’s unifying the data, it’s understanding the relationships, it’s removing the ambiguity when one publisher says they own a certain percentage and that conflicts with what percentage another publisher says it owns,” Crawford told us in August.

“Then it is working with the services to build a very streamlined process to allow for full rights to be secured before stuff goes live.”

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