Rhapsody drops The Echo Nest after Spotify purchase

Steven Loeb · March 23, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/35d1

Rdio also ended its relationship with the music intelligence service earlier this month

When Spotify bought music intelligence service The Echo Nest at the beginning of the month, it seemed pretty likely that all of the company's other customers, including many of Spotify's competitors like Rdio, eMusic, Vevo and MTV, would probably abandon ship.

Now that process has begun, and it will likely start happening more.

For the second time, one of The Echo Nest's customers is dropping the service. This time it is Rhapsody, which made the announcement on Friday.

The Echo Nest says that it provides developers with "the deepest understanding of music content and music fans." That means helping recommend the right music for streaming service. Rather than rely on an outside company, though, Rhapsody seems to be more interested in developing similar technology on its own. 

Here is the full statement from Paul Springer, Chief Product Officer and Rhapsody International’s Senior Vice President of the Americas.

“The Echo Nest has been a good partner for us, but we have never been completely satisfied with recommendations from any third party. As the number two music streaming service globally, we decided now is the time to invest heavily in personalization based on our experience as a pioneer in streaming music for over 13 years," he said

“As we continue to expand and drive growth on a global base – we now operate in 32 countries across Latin America and Europe – delivering a tailored, personalized listening experience for every customer cannot be outsourced. Customers shouldn’t notice any interruption and over the next several months they will experience a more personalized listening experience across both the Rhapsody and Napster applications.”

Rhapsody's decision comes on the heels of a similar announcement made by music streaming service Rdio 

“As far as we are concerned, they were a good partner, but we have other good partners and we’ll move on," Rdio CEO Anthony Bay said in an interview with CNBC.

At the time of its acquisition, The Echo Nest made it clear that it wanted to keep its existing customers. 

The company said that it would continue to operate out of its headquarters in Somerville, Massachusetts. It's API also remained free and open, as "the developer community is crucial to the success of both Spotify and The Echo Nest and will remain a priority for the combined companies."

Both Spotify and The Echo Nest told me at the time that it would work closely with those companies using The Echo Nest.

"In the few cases where The Echo Nest does work with direct competitors we will work with them to understand these relationships and determine the next business steps," a Spotify spokesperson said at the time.

"I can't speak for our customers and partners, but can say that these relationships are of utmost importance and to that end, we have agreed with Spotify to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary whereby our existing commercial customer agreements and relationships are still in force," a spokesperson for The Echo Nest said.

"We are in close contact with all of our customers to ensure clarity and continuity around how we’re moving forward."

Apparently those efforts have not been working all that well so far, and I would not be surprised if more companies just ship in the coming weeks and months.

VatorNews has reached out for a statement from both Spotify and The Echo Nest on Rhapsody's announcement. We will update if we learn more. 

(Image source: ancientrails.com)

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The Echo Nest


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The Echo Nest is a music intelligence company founded by Tristan Jehan and Brian Whitman, who met at the MIT Media Lab while they were both getting their PhDs in music understanding and synthesis research. The company has since grown to a small but insane team of developers, designers, musicians and business people all housed in a cozy office in Davis Square, Somerville, MA, USA. We grow an intelligence platform that automatically reads about and listens to the entire world of music for developers to build search, personalization and interactive music applications.

The Echo Nest team is made up of music intelligence scientists and experienced digital entertainment entrepreneurs. Our advisors include the leadership of Bose, DirecTV and XM Satellite Radio. The Echo Nest is a four-time National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant winner. The company is also funded by Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Argos Management and a great group of angel investors that include three co-founders of the MIT Media Lab.

About Our Platform

Our applications are powered by a musical brain built at the Echo Nest along with years of research at UC Berkeley, Columbia and MIT. The musical brain automatically:

  1. Reads about music, constantly analyzing millions of blog posts, reviews, playlists and discussion forums to understand how the online world describes every artist, album and song.
  2. Listens to music, with technology actually listens to audio files, extracting musical attributes, such as tempo, instrumentation, key, time signature, energy, harmonic and timbral structures, to understand every song in similar ways a musician would describe it (e.g. "heavy beat, swing groove, fast tempo, 4/4 time, key of B flat, mezzo piano").
  3. Learns about music trends, analyzing the entire world of online music behavior — who's talking about which artists this week, what songs are being streamed and downloaded, etc. — to understand the latest trends, buzz and fan opinion.