Apple reportedly purchased a music analytics company called Asaii, a startup that can supposedly discover new artists well before they become famous. Asaii would mark Apple’s second music purchase of the year after the widely known Shazam service, a deal that was finalized only weeks ago.
It was Axios the first to report the news, saying that Apple paid less than a $100 million for the service, according to sources familiar with the deal. Neither Apple nor Asaii confirmed the purchase, but Asaii employee LinkedIn profiles suggest the acquisition is real, the report notes. For example, Sony Theakanath and Austin Chen, the founders of Asaii, now list Apple as their employer and specifically mention Apple Music.
Asaii announced previously that it would shut down on October 14th, The Verge notes. The purchase of Asaii might help Apple both offer improved recommendations to users but also help with the discovery of new unsigned artists.
The music analytics company developed a dashboard that pulls data from music services and social media. Asaii says its tech can discover new artists “10 weeks to a year” before they chart, and that it’ll allow the discovery of the “next Justin Bieber.”
Asaii has also developed an algorithm that can offer recommendations to users based on their existing services, which could be integrated into Apple Music in the future.
Spotify, Apple’s main rival in the music streaming business, plans to allow unsigned artists to upload their music directly. Spotify also has its own recommendations algorithms in place, including Daily Mix and Discover Weekly.
Apple routinely purchases startups and smaller companies to bolster is existing services and products, so the purchase isn’t surprising, especially considering that Apple Music is a significant area of interest for Apple. The Shazam deal, which closed a few weeks ago after clearing EU regulators, cost Apple $400, according to reports.