Spotify Buys AI Start-Up Niland To Improve Recommendations

May 19, 2017 - Written By Alexa Ward

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Spotify has acquired Niland, a music artificial intelligence start-up. It’s thought that this acquisition is the latest in the company’s efforts to improve the backend of its service which recommends music to their listeners. Spotify released a statement on their website, following the acquisition in which it said that they consider artificial intelligence (AI) to be instrumental in the way people search for music and the recommendations that are provided to them. There are not many details about the deal are known yet – the price that Spotify paid for the start-up is being kept firmly under wraps.

This latest deal is seen as a further step in the music streaming company’s rivalry with Apple Music – both companies are racing to be the best at providing accurate and relevant tailored recommendations to their listeners. Although the company is practically unheard of in the world of AI, as CNBC reported, the Chief Executive Officer of Niland,¬†Damien Tardieu has long had an interest in how AI can be used to form connections between different types of music. The Niland technology that Spotify is interested in works by analyzing meaningful information from music and then using that information to form connections with other music artists. Spotify, along with many other similar services currently use a system called collaborative filtering, which consists of analyzing sources of public information available online such as blogs, to find¬†when multiple, similar artists are mentioned in the same context. In terms of accuracy, this method is much less accurate and more hit and miss than Niland’s technology.

Spotify, who recently reported they had hit a milestone of 50 million paid subscribers, says that Niland employees will be joining employees in Spotify’s New York offices, where they will commence work on AI tools which will help refine music recommendations. This isn’t the only company that has joined the Spotify team lately – last month it was widely reported that the company has acquired a small start-up company called Mediachain, which it hopes will improve the way the company deals with royalty payments to the creators of music on their platform.