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Apple buys UK music analytics startup to convince users to spend more

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Apple has bought UK-based media analytics startup Semetric in a move apparently designed to strengthen its music discovery and recommendation tools. The company — which was purchased for an undisclosed sum — has made its name offering the media industry insights into what customers are listening to, watching, and buying. It promises that its platform can "increase … average spend and encourage repeat consumption" — a compelling pitch, especially when Apple is rumored to be relaunching its Beats Music streaming platform later this year.

Hand-curated playlists aren't worth much if no-one pays for music

Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously praised Beats' hand-curated playlists, but as streaming becomes the dominant paradigm in the industry iTunes sales are falling for the first time ever. If Semetric's tools can help Apple offer better music recommendations and convert streams to sales, then it will not only increase the appeal of Beats Music to customers but also to the music industry as well.

Semetric's Musicmetric Pro analytics dashboard.

Semetric did not respond to a request for comment at the time of writing and Apple issued only a boilerplate response: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plan." However, as reported by industry site Musically, Semetric changed its registered address on January 12th to that of Apple's European headquarters and in October last year appointed a new director: Gene Daniel Levoff, vice president of corporate law at Apple. In January 2013, the company's latest funding round raised some $4.8 million and since its launch it has expanded its analytic tools to take in not only music, but also films, TV, ebooks, and games. Semetric, it seems, might not only be useful in helping Apple strengthen the appeal of Beats Music, but also in boosting digital sales across the board.