Axios: Apple Has Acquired Asaii, a Music Analytics Platform 'Able to Find the Next Justin Bieber' [Update: No]

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has acquired San Francisco-based music analytics startup Asaii, according to unnamed sources cited by Axios. The deal, which has not been confirmed by Apple, was reportedly worth less than $100 million.


    Asaii built tools that allowed music labels to discover, track, and manage artists using machine learning. The platform pulled data from social networks and streaming music services, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud, to find hidden talent.

    Asaii offered two products specifically: a music management dashboard for A&R representatives to quickly scout and manage talent, and an API for music services to integrate a recommendation engine into their platforms.


    "Our machine learning powered algorithms finds artists 10 weeks before they chart," the startup's website states. "Our algorithms are able to find the next Justin Bieber, before anyone else," another page claimed.

    The acquisition will enable Apple to bolster its content recommendations to users, and help it compete with Spotify's efforts to work directly with smaller artists and music labels, according to the report. Apple Music and iTunes are likely to benefit from Asaii's machine learning algorithms.

    Asaii was founded in August 2016 by Sony Theakanath, Austin Chen, and Chris Zhang, who have collectively worked at Apple, Facebook, Uber, Salesforce, and Yelp previously. All three individuals now work on the Apple Music team at Apple, as of October 2018, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

    In an email to customers shared by Music Ally last month, Asaii said it would be shutting down operations on October 14, 2018.

    Last month, Apple announced that it completed its acquisition of Shazam, a popular music recognition service that can identify the names and lyrics of songs and music videos. Shazam could be more tightly integrated into Apple products and services as a result, ranging from Apple Music to Siri.

    Update - Oct. 15: Startup incubator and Asaii investor The House has confirmed the "recent acquisition."

    "As the first investors in Asaii, we are incredibly excited by their recent acquisition by Apple where they will have the opportunity to dramatically scale their impact and continue building out their vision for the future of the music industry," Cameron Baradar, founder of The House, told Music Ally.

    However, Apple declined to provide us with its usual statement confirming an acquisition. MacRumors also received an anonymous, unconfirmed tip today claiming that Asaii's co-founders received standard job offers from Apple as part of a deal worth "way, way less" than $100 million, so it may be an acqui-hire.

    Update - Oct. 15: TechCrunch's Ingrid Lunden has also been unable to receive Apple's usual statement confirming an acquisition, leading her to report that the company has not acquired the assets of Asaii. Instead, she says Apple merely hired the startup's three co-founders, consistent with the tip we received.

    Article Link: Axios: Apple Has Acquired Asaii, a Music Analytics Platform 'Able to Find the Next Justin Bieber' [Update: No]
  2. bladerunner2000 macrumors 68020


    Jun 12, 2015
  3. sdf macrumors regular


    Jan 29, 2004
    But imagine what you could do if you could find him first. :)
  4. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Ridgewood, NJ
  5. vagos macrumors member


    Oct 19, 2014
    Mute him!
  6. Yod4 macrumors newbie


    Sep 12, 2014
    Wow, seriously. The world doesn’t need “the next Justin Bieber”, whatever that even means.
  7. Nilhum macrumors regular


    Dec 20, 2016
    Nice. I unsubscribed from Apple Music to Spotify mainly because of how good the Spotify reccomendations and playlists are. Oh and the app is faster on windows and Mac than Itunes.
  8. Brandon263 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA
    Spare us, please.
  9. pavinder, Oct 14, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018

    pavinder macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2009
    So the algorithms will detect things within songs which, based on musical structure/chord sequences/whatever and chart history, contain elements deemed likely to become popular?
    In other words, looking backwards.

    This is probably going to make things even more formulaic than they already are...welcome to the homogenised world of unsurprising, generic, non-innovative "music".
  10. zakarhino macrumors demi-god


    Sep 13, 2014
    Bay Area, CA.
    Nobody expect the music companies that’ll make millions off of them.
  11. radiohead007 macrumors newbie


    Oct 11, 2017
    Apple Music needs more help than a Bieber finder. Fix the UX .. iTunes desktop especially
  12. Yod4 macrumors newbie


    Sep 12, 2014
    Looks like it’s worse than this. The article mentions that “The platform pulled data from social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram [..] to find hidden talent”. This likely means that at least part of the algorithm weighs things like demographics, social trends, social media interactions etc. It’s got nothing to do with music (Hence the part about the next “Justin Bieber”).
  13. SeattleMoose macrumors 68000

    Jul 17, 2009
    Der Wald
    All algorithms reflect the bias and desires of those who write them. The fact they are looking for the next Bieber....says it all.
  14. Brandhouse macrumors 6502

    Aug 6, 2014
    Isn't that what all the music of today sounds like already?
  15. karnsculpture macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2006
    London, UK
    A music executive in the 70s, Peter Meisel, used similar methods to dictate what his producers and acts should record (including Giorgio Moroder and Frank Farian) - he analysed what was successful in great detail. This did not work in the long-term, it lead to a lot of very similar-sounding disco and rock records that were hits but eventually the public bought into what was different. This is nothing new.
  16. entropys macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2007
    Brisbane, Australia
    Given the genres Apple Music keeps promoting at me no matter what I listen to, this algorithm will incredibly and coincidently discover the future is only hip hop.
  17. pavinder macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2009
    Pretty much, although I still believe there's a lot of human choice involved (even though the taste of these people is questionable).

    Once it's automated (and "justified") by machines though, we're headed for a complete absence of humanity.

    That said, you could argue that judging by the state of music today, anything would be an improvement - as long as they program some randomness into the algorithms.

    I think it's about time for the ideas of The Dice Man to be programmed.
  18. loekf macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2015
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    Well, with autotune everybody can sing. I even suspect some popular artists talk using autotune.

    And please, get rid of the labels. Artists should try to get things sorted without labels in this era of Spotify etc.
  19. Ultramove69 macrumors newbie


    Dec 23, 2017
    Columbus Ohio, USA
  20. venusboy macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2011
    If music labels are using this tool to find “the next big thing” and then surely it’s a self fulfilling prophecy?
  21. me-balls macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2004
    and when they find him I hope they lock him in a cupboard.
  22. BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2007
    On The Interweb Thingy!
  23. Bacillus Suspended


    Jun 25, 2009
    Better go find the next Eddy Cue that can reinvigorate iTunes.
  24. JSt83, Oct 15, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018

    JSt83 macrumors member


    Jan 6, 2014
    You guys get that that whole Bieber line is just them selling the quality of their algorithm, right? Since he's probably the most successful social media discovery. It's pretty dumb to assume Apple bought the company to fulfill some marketing slogan of theirs.

    No it's not. There's lots of amazing music being released, never before so easily accessible.
  25. rikscha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2010
    I second that. It absolutely doesn’t matter how many times I tell AM i hate rap and hip-hop, sure enough There will be a few tracks of that genre on my new music mix playlist.

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