The extralegal American “security” apparatus has been a reliable engine of perpetual public outrage over the past several months, but, neglected almost entirely from the media coverage and the personally voiced e-concern about whether or not those special emails of mine are currently being circulated around NSA headquarters, lies a subject much more sinister and condemnable. Have we asked how the music feels about all this?
The founding of The Echo Nest in 2005 coincided with an invasion of privacy that even the personification of the Patriot Act would download and have a wank to. Their database aggregates the very souls (meaning the actual audio and textual data) of over 30 million songs for the purposes of powering, most notably, music recommendation services, but also for assisting companies in playlist generation, acoustic analysis, audio fingerprinting, and surely, the development of virtually any music-based software under the bitterly-curtained sun… on the part of the programmers. Those visualizers that come packaged with so many media players come to mind as an obvious application, but to offer a broader perspective, Echo Nest’s API is currently being used by over 7,000 developers. They’re patting down and getting all up in the anatomical crevasses of music.
On March 6, the self-described “leader” in music intelligence was acquired by long-term client and chronic Yorke-irritator, Spotify. Questionable is the notion of how Echo Nest can maintain relationships with Spotify’s competitors when Spotify ultimately wields control, but one such competitor has already severed ties in anticipation of conflict. Anthony Bay, CEO of Rdio, explains his forthcoming strategy: “So we will stop using that source of data and use other sources.”
Meanwhile, who knows what the acquisition/merger will entail for regular ol’ music fans, but it’s apparent that the parties involved are, at least, really really excited about it:
We spent our first weeks together just giddy at the potential of all that special Echo Nest magic working directly with the world’s best place for music. You’re about to see some great stuff from the new Echo Nest-enabled Spotify, and we’re excited to hear what you think. We’re all staying in town, our API stays up, and every single person at our company will continue to focus on building the future of music. Talk to you soon; we’ve got some work to do.