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image from www.google.comMusic intelligence platform The Echo Nest, has closed a new $17.3 million financing round led by Norwest Venture Partners. Prior investors Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Fringe Partners, Jim Pallotta and board member Michael Brown also participated in this round. The Echo Nest says it will use the funds to support sales, international expansion and new product development, the early stages of which the company shared this morning.

The EchoNest's music data API powers music discovery iHeartRadio, eMusic, MOG, Spotify, Nokia, the BBC and VEVO; and along with the funding round, the company announced two major enhancements to it's Fanalytics platform.
  • image from musicmachinery.files.wordpress.comTaste Profile Similarity, a data service that gives apps and music services the ability to connect like-minded fans by determining their overall musical compatibility within a larger group.
  • The Echo Nest also offered an advance look at Taste Profile Similarity and it's "affinity prediction" system it is building. Affinity prediction uses music preferences as predictive of other media preferences and psychographic attributes.

Both taste profiles and affinity prediction give developers using the EchNest API the opportunity to use music to drive non-music apps. One experiment with drawing a data driven line from music to the rest of the world demonstrated the correlation between music and political affiliation. "It started as an office joke, but after running the numbers, I can’t escape the data," says Echo Nest CTO Brian Whitman. "It turns out music pref image from img.skitch.comerence is pretty well correlated with political affiliation. A few examples Whitman has published include:

  • Republicans seem to have less diverse music taste than Democrats
  • Kenny Chesney fans are most likely to swing right, Rhianna fans left
  • Metal fans could save us all from a two-party system

What’s Your Musical Stereotype?

"As we collect more data about what people listen to we begin to learn more about the demographics of listening," says Paul Lamere, Director of Development of The Echo Nest.  The new Taste Profile Similarity API lets users take a seed taste profile and find others with similar tatses. To demo Lamere and team created a web app called ”What’s your stereotype?”   "This application will look at your music taste (based on your Facebook likes, or your jams from This is my Jam), and  tell you which Internet meme  best fits your listening style."  An amusing example of the results:

image from musicmachinery.files.wordpress.com