Algorithmic A&R continues to be a touchy subject in some quarters of the music industry, where there is distrust (and/or existential fears) of the prospect of big data encroaching onto the traditional territory of humans’ ears and guts. That’s even more the case when the algorithms are tracking not the momentum of an artist in terms of streams and social activity, but the qualities of the music itself. That isn’t stopping startups from trying though: the latest example is Virginia Beach firm Secret Chord Laboratories.

Its website is bare-bones for now (“We help navigate the space between inspiration and expression”) but its profile on startups database AngelList offers more information on its plans – including news of $315k of funding so far, including a seed round in October 2019.

“Our tool, dopr, takes our years of music neuroscience and music information retrieval engineering research and predicts how a given audience will enjoy a song,” explains the profile. “All you have to do is feed in your audio file, and dopr returns a score. These metrics are early enough to inform pre-release decisions, directly involve where music enjoyment happens, the brain, and target a specific audience.”

The company’s founding team – CEO Scott Miles and COO David Rosen, for example – appear to have a solid background in academic research around neuroscience, too.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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