Apple Buys UK Startup Behind Musicmetric To Add Analytics To Beats

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Apple appears ready to add more analytics and analysis to Beats, the streaming service it bought for $3 billion last year, after news surfaced that the U.S. giant has bought the British company behind Musicmetric.

The Guardian reports that Semetric was quietly acquired by the U.S. phone maker last year. That’s according to filings with Company House which show that Semetric changed its registered address to that of Apple’s legal partner in the UK, while it added a senior Apple lawyer to its board of directors in October 2014.

Apple provided its standard response to The Guardian as confirmation, but the price has not been disclosed at this point.

Six-year-old Musicmetric is a service that helps record labels, artists and others track the digital consumption of their music, whether it be sales on iTunes, BitTorrent downloads, views on YouTube, or streams on Spotify. There’s also a product that enables brands and agencies to mine social networks for mentions of artists, albums and tracks and general sentiment/feedback.

Musicmetric has partnerships with Spotify and Last.fm, but it isn’t clear whether the service will remain open following the deal. The service is well established, having raised more than $5 million from investors — including a $4.7 million round in 2013 — but Apple could limit the service to working with Beats, or close it down and have the staff work on its own, internal solution for Beats.

The deal has similarities with Spotify’s $100 million acquisition of Echo Nest last year.

Last September, we reported that Apple is planning to close the Beats brand and roll it into iTunes. Irrespective of the semantics, Beats was a relatively late entrant into the music streaming business and, with rivals Spotify, Rdio and Google in the market for longer, Apple will have to step its game up across the board. Providing solid analytics for the music industry (and advertisers, if Beats goes down the ad-supported route for non-fee paying customers) is an important part of that and a space that Musicmetric currently covers.

The service did also branch out to provide analytics for e-books, films, games and TV shows, so Apple may have other plans beyond just music streaming.

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