Newly funded Echo Nest tells music industry: “It’s the data, stupid”

October 5, 2010

Echo Nest Parakeet

Of the many ways the traditional music industry has struggled in the fast evolving digital music world has been understanding who is listening, why they’re listening , when and where they’re listening and find ways to build music-based products and services around that — especially since not as many people are buying music as they used to.

This is where The Echo Nest comes in. A start-up based in Somerville, Massachusetts is a self-described music intelligence company that powers music applications and services for developers and media companies based on data that it is automatically collates from millions of songs and music articles around the Web.

Chief Executive Jim Lucchese, a former music lawyer, compares one element of Echo Nest’s offering to the ever popular Pandora whose Music Genome Project indexed over 800,000 songs in a major labor of love which involved hundreds of musicians/analysts. He says Echo Nest’s technology is able to index millions of songs on any number of criteria in seconds.

Lucchese is convinced the music industry faces a huge problem of being able to understand more than 10 million songs online plus 3, 000 new songs and 15,000 music reviews added online everyday as well as the 700,000 unique users who access music online every minute.

“Music access is almost a commodity, the value  has become about the experience whether through a game or a mobile application consumers have a much higher expectation and this requires a lot of data to enable it,” he said.

While you’re getting your head round the idea of the importance of data at least two venture capital firms seem to think that The Echo Nest is on to something important.  Matrix Partners led a $7 million second-round of venture financing with existing investor Commonwealth Capital Ventures which was announced on Tuesday.

“With its music intelligence platform, The Echo Nest has developed a remarkably novel and unique algorithm-based technology to enable new music discovery and consumption experiences in a world that is filled with manual one-off approximations,” said Antonio Rodriguez, general partner at Matrix Partners and Echo Nest board member.

(Photo: Reuters/Conservationist descends from a tree after checking the nesting site of a Mauritius Echo Parakeet Black River Gorge national park in Mauritius)

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