Spotify announced on Thursday that it had acquired The Echo Nest, a music analytics company that provides the data for online radio stations and music recommendation services. There’s no word on how much Spotify paid for The Echo Nest, which currently counts Rdio, Vevo, Nokia, and Twitter among its customers. The company’s noncommercial API will reportedly remain free, while its ongoing contracts with Spotify’s competitors will continue as well.
Music recommendation has never been Spotify’s strong suit. The company features its own Spotify Radio service and offers up some recommendations based on whatever it notices you listen to the most, but the company’s bread and butter has always been in simply letting users pick and choose exactly which songs they want to listen to. Purchasing Echo Nest should help improve that side of the business, while also beefing up competition against companies like Pandora and Beats Music which advertise recommendation tools as their main feature.
Acquiring The Echo Nest also gives Spotify another way to make money by turning around and licensing the technology to other companies. Then again, it’s possible Spotify could could cut off its competition from the data it now owns. For now the media streaming giant claims it will continue to share the wealth, but there’s nothing stopping Spotify from changing its mind in the future.