Yesterday Gracenote announced a partnership with Next Big Sound to bring additional data and features to Gracenote's new Rhythm platform which launches in February. I spoke earlier in the week with Gracenote President Stephen White who discussed Rhythm and helped me to understand who would want such a thing given how many music services are currently crowding the landscape. As it turns out, having metadata on 180 million songs doesn't just mean they're hoping to support even bigger music catalogs.
Gracenote's Rhythm Platform
Gracenote announced Rhythm last month:
"When plugged into a music catalog, Gracenote Rhythm delivers personalized radio stations and channels."
"Gracenote Rhythm gives developers the ability to create radio services and stations based on familiar features and controls. They can use 'seed' artists, songs, moods and genres to build stations, with adaptive controls for 'like' and 'dislike' to ensure stations get smarter and more personalized the more they are used."
"Developers will also control radio-tuning features that allow music fans to dial up more popular artists or dial down to receive more obscure, indie artists and tracks."
Available to developers via an API, Stephen White explained that Rhythm will basically offer a white label radio service with metadata for 180 million tracks.
Rhythm not only offers front end search and playlist capabilities for one's catalog but can also link to third parties such as Rhapsody, Spotify and Deezer.
However customers do have to license and access the music themselves. If help is needed Gracenote can connect customers to such companies as MediaNet, Omnifone and 7digital.
Partnering With Next Big Sound
White made it clear that Gracenote's partnership with Next Big Sound was unique. In the past they've either developed tech in-house or through acquisition. So though they work with a broad range of companies in a variety of industries, they haven't truly had a tech partner in this sense.
By linking with Next Big Sound, Gracenote adds social media and trending data to the mix. This supplements Gracenote's metadata for 180 million tracks which combines descriptors of music by both humans and automated tools.
The intended outcome is that Rhythm will do a better job of figuring out what somebody cares about and of guiding them into appropriate sets of music that they may never have found on their own.
Even More Streaming Music Services?
It sounds like a great product but aren't we already flooded with music services to the point that we're now mostly waiting to see who's going to fail?
Stephen White pointed out that Rhythm isn't just for new music services and some of their established customers are already testing some of the features. Gracenote customers include Apple, Microsoft, Toyota and Ford. We did not discuss who is exploring Rhythm at this point.
However White said that automotive interest is quite high as is that of consumer electronics manufacturers. So they're clearly benefiting from the push for better music services in the car and home.
Big brands that want to leverage their customers' affinity with music are another possiblity. Other niche providers might be genre or location-based.
White explained that though they do have metadata on 180 million tracks, the idea isn't to enable the biggest music service in the world, though it sounds like they could, but to meet more specific thematic and regional needs.
Given the major music services' focus on specific regions and languages, their 20 to 30 million tracks don't always address a market such as Singapore, for example. They often lack regional awareness and access to local labels. So Rhythm can adapt to a wider range of needs than any one music service is currently satisfying.
This ability to go global is also one of the aspects attracting the automotive industry to Rhythm because they'd prefer to have an international solution over having to develop separate agreements and systems on a regional basis.
So apparently, despite the seeming glut of music services, there's plenty of room for more when you consider the various niches that have yet to be filled.
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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is currently relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.