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Pandora to acquire data company Next Big Sound

pandora and next big sound 640w

Data, and more data. Pandora announced this morning its acquisition of music analytics company Next Big Sound. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Pandora is already a Big Data powerhouse in analyzing music (the Music Genome) and user preferences (billions of Like and Skip interactions). The acquisition of Next Big Sound bolsters the artist-facing part of Pandora’s data array.  Next Big Sound is the leading provider of insights about musicians, tracking social, sales, and streaming metrics, and integrating them in one platform. Pandora intends to leverage that data flow to enhance its Artist Marketing Platform (AMP), which was launched in October.

The Artist Marketing Platform is an analytics dashboard which furnishes song-by-song performance information, the number of fans creating a station for an artist, listener information, and a geographic heat map of where a musician is building a U.S. audience. Next Big Sound will complement and expand that career-assisting dashboard, and Pandora says it’s a two-way street — Pandora’s immense trove of user behavior data will enrich Next Big Sound’s dataset.

Next Big Sound has historically served the music industry, connecting buzz about an artist (e.g. social media, public relations) with business performance indicators (e.g. sales, revenue). By bringing this label-facing intelligence provider in-house, Pandora entrenches its intent and ability to be a data-rich marketing resource for artists. “Our goal is to be an indispensable partner to music makers,” a Pandora representative told RAIN News.

“By folding in their broad data architecture and applying it to our more than 80 million active monthly users, we will be poised to become the most powerful and effective marketing and promotions tool for artists, managers, agents, publishers, promoters, labels and brands across the music industry,” Pandora said.

As such, this acquisition serves a different purpose from Spotify’s purchase of The Echo Nest, a deal which might come quickly to mind as comparable — a major music service acquiring a major music analytics company. But the intent is different. The Echo Nest is a music intelligence layer which determines (among other things) what song to play next, informed by music analysis and user behavior. Next Big Sound is more about understanding where and why listeners choose music, talk about musicians, and how artist popularity builds — all leading to better music marketing.

Next Big Sound was started in 2008, and has received $7.9-million in venture funding.

Brad Hill

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