Apple snaps up music analytics company Semetric

News has surfaced of Apple’s purchase of a British music data company, offering new clues about its plans to revamp the Beats music streaming service.

Apple’s acquisition of Semetric closed late last year, according to the Financial Times, which put the value of the deal at about $50 million. Semetric, which is based in London, analyzes music downloads and streaming, in addition to studying how users are sounding off about the tunes on social media. Its roster of clients ranges from traditional record labels to streaming companies such as Spotify that compete with Apple’s Beats.

Apple is widely expected to relaunch later this year the Beats music streaming service, one of the key assets it acquired last year in a blockbuster purchase of the hip headphone company. With data from Semetric in hand, Beats will ostensibly be able to make smarter suggestions to users about which songs they should listen to, as the Financial Times noted.

But that’s likely not all Apple has in mind for Semetric, Gartner analyst Mike McGuire told SiliconBeat. The data harnessed by Semetric is extremely valuable to the record labels and artists that streaming companies must appease to keep their catalogs full. Oakland-based Pandora recently began giving artists detailed analytics about where their fans are clustered, which demographics they fall into and which songs they like best.

From Beats to Pandora to Spotify, all the music streaming services are “in competition for audiences’ time and money,” said McGuire. “But on the other side of that coin are the artists and labels who are looking for new ways to monetize their creative output. More data is going to be required to keep them happy.”

McGuire added that the data from Semetric could also prove helpful if Apple decides to play ads on a free version of Beats. Many streaming services offer users a choice between listening for free with ads or buying a monthly subscription.

The Cupertino-based company has been characteristically coy about the acquisition.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement.

Above: Apple’s purchase of a British music data company gives it more tools as it prepares to relaunch Beats. From left to right, Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue are pictured (AP).


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