Apple reportedly acquires music analytics firm that claims it can ‘find the next Justin Bieber’

Image: Asaii

Apple has reportedly acquired Asaii, a music analytics company focused around the discovery of new and emerging artists, according to a story from Axios. The acquisition comes as Apple Music’s main competitor Spotify is increasing its support for unsigned artists, who can now upload their music directly to its service. Last month, Asaii announced it would be shutting down on October 14th.

Asaii’s main product is a dashboard that pulls together data from both music services and social media. This dashboard is advertised as having multiple uses, such as helping record labels plan marketing campaigns and live tours. But, its main feature is allowing labels to discover artists before they make it big. Asaii claims that its tech is able to find artists “10 weeks to a year” before they chart, allowing for the discovery of “the next Justin Bieber.”

The purchase was later seemingly confirmed by the founder of The House, a startup fund and accelerator that was the first to invest in Asaii. Speaking to Music Ally, The House’s Cameron Baradar said, “As the first investors in Asaii, we are incredibly excited by their recent acquisition by Apple where they will have the opportunity to dramatically scale their impact and continue building out their vision for the future of the music industry.” Key members of the Asaii team are now listed as Apple employees on LinkedIn. Apple declined to comment on the reports.

Apple’s acquisition comes as its main music streaming rival, Spotify, is expanding its reach beyond traditional mainstream artists. Last month, it announced that it would be letting unsigned artists upload music directly to its platform. In an era when most major artists are available across all streaming services, having a bigger library of up-and-coming unsigned performers could become a key differentiator for streaming services.

In addition to its artists dashboard, Asaii also produces a recommendation algorithm that streaming services can use to suggest relevant music to their listeners based on their existing preferences. It’s expected that this technology will be used to help Apple’s service compete with Spotify’s own Daily Mix and Discover Weekly recommendation services.

The acquisition, which was rumored to cost Apple less than $100 million, is the company’s second music-focused purchase this year. Last month, the company completed its acquisition of Shazam, the popular song-identification service.

Update October 15th, 6:05AM ET: Post updated with quote from The House’s founder Cameron Barardar, confirming news of the acquisition.

Update October 15th, 9:50AM ET: Added a note to say Apple has declined to comment on the report.

Comments

With a collective Asaii, they agreed, "It will be berry berry good."

Lol, if a company claimed to find another Bieber, it would be the last company I would ever acquire or invest in.

BTW there are easily millions of people more musically talented then Bieber, he is a product and was in the right place at the right time to gain success. Success in the music industry has nothing to do with singing talent. Any company claiming to "find" a star by analyzing their music has completely missed the point about what makes people successful in the music industry.

Hence the inclusion of social media in its algorithm. Most popular doesn’t equate to best in most cases, but it leads to revenue.

1. Disliking Justin Bieber is so 2011
2. He was discovered from his unedited, raw YouTube videos and sparked a new trend that’s led to Ella Mai, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara, among other Grammy nominated/buzzed artists. Arguing that he’s untalented is boring and pretty wrong

Apple acquires music analytics firm that claims it can ‘find the next Justin Bieber’

so they can kill it with fire?

Perhaps feed the algorithm into this?

Bieber is such an odd choice that out of curiosity I looked it up. Apparently he was discovered on youtube. Which just feeds the whole idea that artists don’t need to pay their dues by working their way up from small gigs, honing their skills and becoming great at playing live. Which is exactly why we have the talentless hacks of today.

Honestly, was bieber ever about music? No more than sean cassidy, bobby sherman, or any of a hundred others of that ilk…

He wasn’t found, he was made.

This will just allow record labels to grab artists before they know their worth.

People are getting hung up on Bieber, when really this acquisition is all about Apple needing to shore up their music recommendation algos because they suck for discovery compared to Spotify.

That being said, I think that Apple still kind of misses the point. Spotify’s whole approach to their music discovery is that they assume that their users are fans of a type of sound and not necessarily a particular artist. Contrast to Apple which is very opinionated in favor of artist worship and of album releases, so much so that new releases often ignores EP and single releases. So if Apple has an algo that can identify upcoming artists, great, but it’s not going to replicate the sort of discovery that one gets from what Spotify is trying to do.

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