Tribune Buys The Company That Identifies Your iTunes Music for $170M

Tribune acquired Gracenote from Sony

Tribune has acquired Gracenote, a company whose audio recognition software tracks more than 180 millions songs for services like iTunes, Pandora and Spotify, the company said Monday.

Tribune is paying Sony $170 million for Gracenote, though the deal will not formally close until next year. Gracenote is the most-trafficked music data source on the planet (self-proclaimed), as users look up 550 million items in its database every day.  Tribune will combine Gracenote with Tribune Media Services, its provider of metadata for film and television.

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“This transaction extends and complements TMS’ best-in-class core competency in the metadata business, while also deepening Tribune’s slate of subscription services,” Tribune CEO Peter Liguori said in a statement.

Sony acquired Gracenote in 2008 for more than $250 million, and selling the company fits with the corporate mandate to cut costs. Gracenote is best known for aiding iTunes identify songs when users insert a CD, but it has expanded into audio recognition for music applications and wanted to expand into helping advertising as well.

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“Gracenote and TMS are an ideal fit,”  Shashi Seth, President of Tribune Digital Ventures, said in a statement. “Both companies have substantial digital footprints and are well-respected leaders in their areas globally. Together we will become an even greater force in the global entertainment data business by servicing new and existing customers with better data, new products, and new services to help an evolving entertainment industry.”