The Echo Nest Receives $17 Million of Funding, Provides an Incredible Music Database

by Dave Mainella

A significant aspect of today’s digital music environment involves the compilation of music data.  It’s a growing field in the music industry, and the Echo Nest is ahead in the race to provide a giant database of raw music information.

The Somerville, Massachusettes based Echo Nest unveiled yesterday that they have received $17 million in additional funding, launching the company into a position to expand its musical data services into social discovery and other areas.

The Echo Nest was founded in 2005 by MIT Media Lab PhDs Brian Whitman and Tristan Jehan.  The two have built the company into a powerful music intelligence force that powers a wide range of music applications, with clients that include MTV, the BBC, Warner Music Group, and about 7,000 independent app developers.  They also have deals with Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Vevo.

Their customers reach over 100 million music fans each month on over 350 applications – from music search and discovery, to music games and analytics driven marketing applications.

The genius behind the entire process is the “musical brain”.

After years of research at UC Berkley, Columbia, and MIT, the Echo Nest built an incredible thinking database that collect and analyzes music and the online music environment for several factors (http://the.echonest.com/company/).  It scans millions of blogs, reviews, playlists, and discussion forums to form a complex understanding of how the online community describes every artist, album, and song.  The “brain” analyzes all of the online musical behavior to identify trends, buzz, and fan opinions.  And it actually listens to audio files to extract musical attributes, like tempo and time signature, to describe songs in ways similar to actual musicians.

The Echo Nest is hoping to branch out, using this powerful database to provide clients with user research in a variety of areas outside of music. This latest round of funding, led by Northwest Venture Partners and previous investors like Commonwealth Capital Ventures, help to ensure that the Echo Nest will find other ways to use their massive database of music information.

The newest projects released and under development include ways to connect and uncover preferences and tendencies among music users.  The “Fanalytics” program focuses on helping media companies better understand their users through music taste.  And an “affinity predictor” uses musical preferences to predict, for example, political preference.

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