The Echo Nest Raises $17 Million, Plans to Branch Out From Music DiscoveryJuly 12, 2012
by Dan Rys
The Echo Nest unveiled today that they have received $17.3 million in additional funding, with plans to branch out from the music data services that they currently fuel and into social discovery and other areas.
The funding was led by Norwest Venture Partners and managing partner Jeff Crowe, with previous investors Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Fringe Partners, Jim Pallotta, and board member Michael Brown also chipping in for the Somerville, MA-based company. The company has said that it would use the funds to boost continued sales growth and international expansion, but also for new product development.
The Echo Nest has deals with Spotify, iHeartRadio, Vevo, eMusic, Mog, the BBC, Nokia, and plenty more to use its API, which boasts one of the best music discovery platforms in the world, but with only a limited number of music companies that can negotiate licenses with labels, they have started branching out into other ways to use their massive database, including using music tastes to connect and uncover some preferences and tendencies of users.
In that vein, the company is launching two new product enhancements to its "Fanalytics" program, which is dedicated to helping media companies to better get to know their user base through their music taste. The first, called " Taste Profile Similarity," is geared toward finding like-minded people within the sea of a massive database. The example the company provided is a "musical stereotype" platform, which allows users to input a numer of artists they like and receive a "stereotype" of how they listen to music, such as "Scumbag Steve" or "Epic Sax Guy."
The second is an "affinity predictor" which uses musical preferences to predict -- among many factors -- political preference, for example. A sample run by the company found that users that listened to Kenny Chesney and other country artists tended to lean Republican, while those listening to Rihanna and Jay-Z, as well as the majority of the Billboard Hot 100 top ten, tended to vote Democratic.
Both APIs can be used by social discovery companies for user research for a variety of different factors, not just music, which the company seems to be branching toward.
"It is an exciting time to be working with The Echo Nest," said Elliot Katzman, general partner at Commonwealth Capital Ventures, in a statement. "The company has continued to make excellent progress since our initial investment in 2008, and we are looking forward to even more exciting developments ahead."