Pandora acquires music data company Next Big Sound

Internet radio company Pandora Media Inc. has agreed to acquire music analytics startup Next Big Sound, in another move by the growing streaming industry to harness data on songs and artists. 

Financial details were not disclosed for the deal, announced Tuesday. 

Pandora said the acquisition will combine New York-based Next Big Sound's data-mining abilities with the streaming service's own large swath of listening information. That data will help artists, labels and marketers better understand and reach their audiences, the companies said. 

Pandora, headquartered in Oakland, is not the first music streamer to buy into the big data business. Stockholm-based Spotify last year acquired Echo Nest to help improve how people discover music on the service. 

In a statement, Pandora said the deal mark's "the latest step in Pandora's commitment to become an indispensable partner to the music industry and accelerates its strategy of harnessing data for the benefit of music makers."

Pandora's relationship with the music industry has long been fraught, and the company has been entangled in tense fights with artists, record labels and music publishers over the royalty rates it pays.

But the company has been trying to position itself as a friend to artists. Last year, Pandora launched a marketing platform for musicians with a tool to let them see their audience's listening activity on the service. In February, Pandora started letting artists target fans with audio ads about upcoming local concerts and new music. 

"This acquisition will bring us one step closer to the dream I envisioned back at the founding of Pandora," said founder Tim Westergren in a blog post. "To give talented working artists a shot at lifelong careers; for every music maker a global marketing and communications platform at their fingertips."

Founded in 2009, Next Big Sound analyzes music by tracking social media activity, sales and streaming information from sources that include Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Spotify, YouTube and iTunes. 

The Pandora deal could affect Next Big Sound's relationships with current clients. After Spotify bought Echo Nest, rival Rdio dropped it as a partner. Next Big Sound, in a post on its website, sought to assure artists and existing partners and clients that "it’s business as usual."

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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