Posted on May 19, 2017 by staff

Spotify buys AI start-up to fight off Apple Music challenge


Online music streaming service Spotify has bout French AI start-up Niland in a bid to compete with Apple Music.

Although not particularly well-known, the firm’s CEO Damien Tardieu has spent years researching how artificial intelligence can be used to extract meaningful data about music taste from a number of sources.

Its approach uses public sources of information like blogs for references to multiple artists, albums or songs and then making recommendations based on that knowledge.

In a short statement, Spotify said: “Niland has changed the game for how AI technology can optimize music search and recommendation capabilities and shares Spotify’s passion for surfacing the right content to the right user at the right time.”

In December, Apple Music reported it had more than 20 million paying subscribers. Spotify had more than 50 million subscribers as of March.

Alex Guillen, go-to-market manager at tech reseller and advisor Insight commented on what small to mid-size businesses can learn from the acquisition, and what embracing AI could mean for them.

He said: “Spotify buying an AI start up to stay ahead of its competition is something many businesses can really learn from. Digital disruption is impacting businesses large and small the potential impact of AI to help them keep pace with the fast rate of change is worth getting excited about.

“Implementing AI to improve and modernise numerous, repetitive operations has a significant impact on efficiencies, giving businesses the freedom to allocate their resources towards reaching new customers or even focus on innovation.

“Customer service is another area that AI is making a big impact right now. It’s already saving companies the enormous costs of investing in customer service call centres and staff, while giving them the flexibility to invest their resources into other areas of the business.

“In a competitive landscape where traditional businesses are feeling the pressure of fast rising (and heavily funded) start-ups, artificial intelligence can give businesses the agility to remain competitive.

“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity out there for those businesses who are willing to implement AI solutions in the right way, and we look forward to watching those that seize it.”