Spotify acquires UK-based music startup, Sonalytic

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  • Last year Spotify, the Swedish music streaming company, bought Soundwave, an Irish music recognition startup based in Dublin, for an undisclosed sum. Now Spotify is ready for a repeat performance, announcing the acquisition of a UK-based music recognition startup this week.

    Sonalytic, a London-based startup that was founded less than a year ago and has since developed an audio recognition technology similar to Soundwave’s but geared towards the B2B market, has been acquired by Spotify for an undisclosed sum.

    Spotify, which has grown to become the world’s number one music streaming service, already employees around 180 people in the UK, and it seems the Sonalytic founders will now join the Spotify team too, in what’s commonly dubbed an ‘acquihire’. As a Spotify blog post explained: “The Sonalytic team has joined Spotify to accelerate our ability to improve the music ecosystem for artists and fans.”

    While it is currently the number one music streaming service, Spotify does have a number of very heavyweight competitors including Apple (Apple Music), Google (Google Play) and Amazon (Amazon Music), and the quality of Spotify’s recommendation engine will play a critical role in helping the company keep these rivals at bay.

    The acquisition of Soundwave saw Spotify absorb the Irish startup’s big data analytics technology, which was able to analyse a user’s own song choices, as well as the music favoured by the user’s friends and connections on other music platforms and social media, in order to compile highly tailored (and enthusiastically received) music recommendations.

    It’s no coincidence, then, that part of Sonalytic’s product includes a machine learning-based music recognition algorithm that can also be used to create AI-derived song and artist recommendations – something Spotify is likely very keen to incorporate into its recommendation engine alongside its Soundwave technology.

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