Apple buys the British startup behind music analytics service Musicmetric
Apple has acquired British startup Semetric, which runs the Musicmetric analytics tool, as part of its plans to relaunch its Beats Music streaming music service later in the year.
In documents filed with Companies House earlier in January, Semetric’s registered address was changed to 100 New Bridge Street in London – the office of law firm Baker & McKenzie, which is also the registered address of Apple Europe Limited.
Meanwhile, senior Apple attorney Gene Levoff was appointed as a director of Semetric in October 2014, according to another published through Companies House in January.
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plan,” said Apple in a statement provided to the Guardian, although Semetric declined to comment.
Musicmetric launched in 2008 as a way for music labels and other industry clients to track data on sales, BitTorrent downloads and social networking statistics for their artists, with its platform expanding to YouTube videos and audio streams over the next few years.
As Semetric, the London-based startup raised £3m of funding in January 2013 to expand its business into other areas, including e-books, television shows, films and games.
That month, it also struck a deal with streaming service Spotify to integrate its data into Musicmetric’s dashboard. It remains one of the main ways labels track their Spotify streams, although rival Next Big Sound has a separate deal with the company to provide analytics for musicians.
Musicmetric has also regularly released research into online piracy, such as a report in 2012 claiming that more than 3bn songs had been torrented in the first six months of that year, which was discussed widely within the music industry.
Apple may not be discussing its purpose or plan in buying Semetric, but the acquisition looks set to tie in to the company’s plans to relaunch the Beats Music streaming service that it bought as part of a $3bn acquisition of Beats Electronics in 2014.
Apple is thought to be planning to rebrand Beats Music – possibly under its iTunes brand – with reports that it wants to undercut Spotify’s £9.99-a-month subscriptions, and preload its streaming music service on every iOS device.
Musicmetric’s dashboard could become Apple’s in-house tool for labels and artists to track their sales and streams within iTunes alongside social networking stats, although whether Spotify and YouTube remain part of its dashboard is unclear.
The news is a big deal for the UK’s cluster of music technology startups. It came as another London firm, Shazam, raised a new funding round of $30m that values the company at $1bn.
The price paid for Musicmetric is unknown, although the Financial Times suggests that Apple may have paid as much as $50m for the company.