Warner Music Acquires A&R Data Startup Sodatone

Andrew Whitton
Max Lousada

A&R executives across the Warner Music Group universe have a new set of tools for finding the "superstars of tomorrow." WMG announced on Wednesday it has acquired Sodatone, a tech startup that has developed an algorithmic platform that combines social, streaming and touring data to help identify unsigned talent.

The platform, which will continue to be run by founders Arjun Bali and Jerry Zhang, uses data to track artists with already-loyal and engaged fan bases, and helps identify songs that have potential in the wider market. The startup also provides insights into audience reaction to releases from established artists.

"At Warner Music, we're creating an entrepreneurial environment where art and technology thrive together," said Max Lousada, CEO, recorded music at WMG. "Arjun and Jerry are two talented pioneers, whose passion for algorithms and trends is matched by our love for music and culture. They understand that A&R instinct has always been informed by different types of data, and have created a tool that brings new sophistication and foresight to creative decisions. As the youngest member of our growing family of brands, Sodatone will help to differentiate us in the search for the superstars of tomorrow.”

Sodatone got its start at the 'Music Den' incubator at Toronto's Ryerson University and the University of Waterloo's Velocity program. At WMG, Bali and Zhang will collaborate with the label group's various A&R execs and report to chief data officer Vinnie Freda.

The duo said they chose to go to WMG "because we respect the company’s openness to experimentation and admire their approach to artist development. Having worked with so many music companies, it will be inspiring to be closer to the music-making process, and explore how we can fine-tune our technology to make it an even more powerful tool in the hands of the creatives."