Music’s digital revolution is fueled
by one giant database.
BY CHRIS FARAONE
ILLUSTRATION B Y LIZ ME YER
Eventually, the most successful music companies may not be the ones that create, play, or sell music. Rather, they may be the ones to collect the most music
data. In this race, Somerville, Massachusetts–based the Echo Nest is ahead. It’s
an ever-growing, easily searchable database (called the Musical Brain) of every
possible data point for more than 30 million songs—and it’s not for you, or any
consumer. “We put it all in the hands of the people who create the new ways that
we discover and interact with music,” says CEO Jim Lucchese. Right now, that
means 7,000-plus app developers, plus some heavy names like MTV. These folks
create platforms to sell music, and the Echo Nest takes a cut. Below, a sampling
of the services and how versatile music data can be.