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Pandora Acquires Next Big Sound

Digital music continues to invest in big data. Pandora announced Tuesday it has agreed to acquire Next Big Sound, a music analytics company that tracks social and streaming activity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The combination of Pandora’s listening data and Next Big Sound’s analytical capabilities will create a vital source of data,” said Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews.

The deal comes roughly seven months after Pandora debuted its Artist Marketing Platform, or AMP, a tool built in-house that provides artists with information on streams of their recordings. Next Big Sound will complement AMP and provide additional analysis on the listening activities and feedback — the Pandora thumbs — of 80 million monthly active users. Pandora also plans to use Next Big Sound to help brands choose artists with which to partner and analyze the results. 

Other music companies have made similar moves. Apple acquired Semetric, the company behind Musicmetric, in January and Acnu in 2013. Both deals suggest Apple will provide analytics to artists and labels as has been done by Pandora and Spotify, which purchased The Echo Nest — an audio analytics company similar to Pandora’s home-grown Music Genome Project — last year. Live Nation used its acquisition of BigChampagne in 2011 to form Live Nation Labs, which was dismantled in December.

Next Big Sound became an official data provider for Billboard in December of 2010, aggregating social metrics into a formula which makes the Social 50 chart. As of July 2014, Next Big Sound has also contributed to the Artist 100, Billboard’s artist-level ranking which mixes sales, airplay and streaming data from the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 with fan interactions across social media, as measured by Next Big Sound.

The need for analytics — often to provide better tools for advertisers — has been greater outside of music. Verizon’s acquisition of AOL last week, widely seen as an ad play; Yahoo’s acquisition of mobile analytics company Flurry and Twitter’s deal for social analytics companies Bluefin Labs and Trendrr are another two analytics acquisitions in recent memory.

Next Big Sound had raised $7.9 million of funding since its founding in 2009 from the likes of Foundry Group, SoftTech VC and TechStars, the startup incubator that provided the company its seed funding.