Spotify buys AI startup Niland
- Spotify, the music streaming service with 50 million subscribers worldwide, acquired the team and technology behind Niland, a Paris-based startup that provides music recommendations using artificial intelligence, according to a blog post by the company. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
- The acquisition comes as Spotify faces a growing threat from Apple Music, which now has 20 million subscribers. Apple also is adding AI technology to its music recommendations and provides guidelines for how to market songs through its streaming service.
- Niland CEO Damien Tardieu’s background includes researching ways to extract meaningful information from raw music content in order to form connections with other music, CNBC reported. The Niland team will join Spotify’s New York office.
Machine learning is gradually transforming the way content like music, movies, video games and books are marketed to develop loyalty among consumers who have many entertainment options. Suggestions for related works are a key method of keeping people engaged with on-demand entertainment like streamed music and video.
Spotify’s mobile and desktop apps already use collaborative filtering to show data about musical artists, including followers, popularity by city, related artists and their most popular songs, and AI could take recommendations to a new level. The idea that a machine can delve into the contents of a song and make a prediction about the people who will like the choice is remarkable.
Spotify clearly wants to develop expertise in AI, having acquired other companies like MightyTV and Sonalytic that use AI for music recommendations. This technology may eventually replace human curators and musicologists who tag songs and classify them, which is Pandora’s method. But people also like to see what their friends are listening to and get recommendations from artists they respect. As of now, the human element won’t go away completely.