Spotify Takes Another Step Forward in the Great Data Race

Spotify, balloons, illustration
Illustration by Ben Wiseman

Seed Scientific will be the basis for a new unit dedicated to "advanced analytics."

Spotify's acquisition of analytics consultancy Seed Scientific, whose clients include Audi, Unilever, and the United Nations, is another stage in its race to build the best digital music service for artists, advertisers and the company itself.

The Seed Scientific team and technology will be ingested into Spotify to form a new division they're calling Advanced Analytics, which will help Spotify "leverage data and insights throughout the organization," Henrik Landgren, vp of Analytics, said in a statement. Advanced Analytics will be headed by Adam Bly, Seed Scientific's CEO, and based in New York City.

Seed Scientific doesn't just aggregate data and data science services. It helps its clients understand data through visualization. "Our aim is to maximize the return on our client's data investment by making data more flexible, findable, and understandable through design," the company explains on its website. That should add value to Spotify's trove of data on its listeners, and provide artists and labels with useful insights.

Other digital services have made similar analytics acquisitions. Earlier this year, Pandora picked up Next Big Sound and Apple purchased Musicmetric. The acquisitions should help both companies provide data insights to artists, labels and advertisers. Companies have also acquired startups to improve and add other types of features. Rdio acquired recommendation app TastemakerX. Last year, Deezer and Apple acquired podcast apps Stitcher and Swell, respectively. Spotify acquired Tunigo in 2013 to improve its curatorial efforts.

There's a strategic byproduct in these acquisitions. By purchasing a company, the buyer ensures competitors won't get its services. As noted by TechCrunch, Seed Scientific counts Beats Music as a client. No longer -- Spotify says Seed Scientific will not provide services to outside companies. It's reminiscent of Spotify purchase of The Echo Nest, once a music analytics provider to Spotify competitors that now exists wholly in-house.