Apple targets big data as it acquires Semetric, makers of Musicmetric

“Apple has acquired U.K. media data startup Semetric, the company behind the Musicmetric music analytics platform,” Paul Sawers reports for VentureBeat. “If you’ve never heard of Semetric before, it’s perhaps become best known for Musicmetric, a platform that garners data about the popularity of musicians online, scraping everything from Facebook to Twitter and BitTorrent. It basically provides a snapshot of what’s being said online, and gives music companies significant insight into what’s hot and what’s not.”

“In terms of why Apple would wish to acquire Semetric, well, it’s well-known that iTunes sales are starting to suffer, which is why the Cupertino company snapped up Beats Electronics for $3 billion,” Sawers reports. ” Apple recognizes that music-streaming is the future, and tied into this is big data.”

“For Apple to succeed with Beats, which it’s expected to relaunch as a core part of iOS in 2015, it needs to better understand what users are listening to and what they feel about it,” Sawers reports. “It’s worth noting that the broader Semetric platform tracks billions of data points, covering everything from TV shows and movies to books. It’s perfectly plausible that Apple isn’t merely focusing on music here, given that it also sells ebooks and films through iTunes.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Apple:

    Please STOP imitating Google with your online services. We don’t need Genius or Beats to track all our media consumption. We need a more stable, easy to use system. The top reason iTunes sales have suffered is not because of streaming services, but because iTunes software is slow, unstable, and difficult to use and understand. Functions are not easy to understand, syncing is a mess, and memory management is dismal. The GUI in iTunes 12 is practically worst of any media management software.

    Please separate the store from audio and video management programs, and hire a designer who knows something about efficient, attractive, intuitive GUIs. And stop the Google-like “big data” user tracking.

  2. If this software is able to correlate data about my music library with data that could suggest new (or even old) music that is likely to be of interest to me then I’m very interested.

    If it is just going to push what the masses are “liking” and tweeting, then count me out.

    1. Agreed about rejecting tweets as indicators of quality!!!

      Sadly, DustyMac, all “big data” software can do is narrow your choices. That fundamentally is what it does.

      Think about it: if you start doing online research on cars, then all ad agencies identify this and you are deluged by an avalanche of car-related ads. Then you buy that new car and … the car ads continue. You have been pegged as an automotive enthusiast and you’ll continue to be bombarded with junk ads attempting to sell you accessories and car-related crap, whether you want it or not. It’s actually more annoying than getting random advertising.

      So too it is with audio. If you like a song, the tracking software will assume that’s ALL you like. For anyone who wants to expand his horizons, he must avoid music curation services. You can always use more sophisticated selection criteria than the stupid music rental companies. They use all the wrong metrics to categorize music. Apple and others do an absolutely horrid job getting genres correct, and they can’t even be bothered to fill in complete correct metadata or useful notes like tempo, dance beat, band members, producer, composer, live or studio, acoustic/amplified/electronic, and so on. So the recommendations that all these services continue to drive is what other people “like” on social media, which is exactly what Apple is buying now.

      This sucks.

      – what do these services do with a band that offers tunes that clearly fit in multiple genres and/or multiple languages? they don’t get played

      – do these services allow you to follow a producer or studio — which is often a much more consistent guide to style than artist or date? nope.

      – do these services allow one to search for, let’s say, all available music on which Gene Krupa played drums? Nope. The data is out there, but no service will ever do a decent job delivering it to you.

      – do these services ever play a track from an unsigned band, demo tracks, or live performances based on venue? There are a gazillion awesome tracks from Old Grey Whistle, Sessions on West 54th, local radio station live studio tracks, etc. some of these are BETTER than the overproduced tracks that are played an nauseum on commercial radio and streaming services. but you have to get these on physical media if you want them.

      – i could go on endlessly about the poor way that Apple and others are implementing “big data” and their music services. I long ago came to the conclusion that Apple’s iTunes once allowed the user the best platform to archive and manage a music collection, but now I am losing faith as Apple continues to fuck up the GUI and performance of iTunes and instead spend all its energy on driving people to the iTunes store and to Apples proliferating goddamned rental platforms iCloud and Match and Beats, all of which have so many fundamental limitations that audiophiles cannot reasonably use the services.

      If you truly love music, you can do far better by managing your high-quality music files yourself. If all you want is overproduced corporate noise that everyone else listens to this month, then Apple/Spotify/Pandora/whatever is a nice expensive way to screw over your favorite artists while limiting your exposure to new and more obscure talents.

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