Spotify wants to own big data about bands. Today it acquired analytics firm Seed Scientific to forge a new Advanced Analytics unit tasked with understanding and improving how artists, listeners, and brands interact with its streaming music service.
Seed Scientific formerly served clients including Audi, Unilever, the United Nations, and importantly, Apple’s Beats Music. But with the acquisition, Spotify confirms to me it will exclusively get the startup’s services, pulling the data rug out from under Apple.
Seed Scientific’s whole team of around 20 will join Spotify in its New York office. The firm specialized in devising algorithms to understand information for commercial, public, and social sector clients. It offered data discovery, collection, science, and visualization services, identifying what data is relevant to a company, capturing it, analyzing it for actionable insights, and then making those concepts comprehensible to its clients.
A statement on the startup’s website reads: “Seed Scientific’s team and technology will now become the foundation of a new Advanced Analytics unit at Spotify that combines cutting-edge math, science, design, and engineering to craft insights, models, and tools with data.”
Spotify tells me the Seed Scientific-centered Advanced Analytics unit will help it improve decisions across the company’s product and business. It could teach Spotify what to suggest people listen to, who they should follow for recommendations, where artists’ fans are so they can plan their tours, or what brands’ ads will resonate most with which users.
Seed Scientific’s founder and CEO Adam Bly will lead the unit. He’ll surely work closely with The Echo Nest, the massive music personalization data provider that also counted Beats as a client before it was acquired by Spotify last year.
With mounting competition from Apple Music and Google Music, the streaming services are desperate to differentiate themselves. Apple will tout exclusives like Pharrell’s single “Freedom”, which the singer today announced will only be available on Apple Music when it launches June 30th. Google highlights the mood and activity-based playlists from its acquisition Songza, which just opened up to free, ad-supported access yesterday.
Spotify seems to be betting on data. If it can offer more accurate recommendations of what to hear, it could solve on-demand streaming’s biggest problem: having an empty search box connected to the entire history of recorded music, but no idea what to play next.