×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nielsen’s Gracenote Uses Artificial Intelligence to Classify 90 Million Songs by Style

Nielsen-owned media data specialist Gracenote wants to help music services make better mixes with fewer outliers: The company announced a new music dataset called Sonic Style Wednesday that classifies 90 million tracks not by the genre the artist is known for, but the actual style of the recording.

This will allow services making use of Gracenote’s data to for instance compile a playlist of all of Taylor Swift’s dance pop hits, while keeping anything that sounds too much like country out of the mix. Or combine The Clash’s old-school punk tracks without adding some of the bands new wave fare.

“Now that playlists are the new albums, music curators are clamoring for deeper insights into individual recordings for better discovery and personalization,” said Gracenote music and auto GM Brian Hamilton.

Gracenote has been in the music data business for close to 20 years. Originally, the company helped consumers automate the copying of audio CDs with a giant database of albums and sound recordings that still powers apps like Apple’s iTunes. In recent years, Gracenote has expanded to not only catalog sound recordings, but also classify them to help music services and other curators.

To do so, Gracenote is using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies, effectively teaching computers to listen to millions of tracks and make sense of what they’re hearing. Until recently, these efforts only focused on moods and vibes, with categories like “sultry,”  “sassy” and “gentle bittersweet.”

With Sonic Styles, the company expanded its AI work to include close to 450 style descriptor values. “Sonic Style applies neural network-powered machine learning to the world’s music catalogs, enabling Gracenote to deliver granular views of musical styles across complete music catalogs,” said Hamilton.

Gracenote executives previously told Variety that using AI for music recognition can come with its own set of challenges. For instance, computers can listen to characteristics of an audio file that aren’t actually music and determine that they are part of a certain mood or genre.

“It can capture a lot of different things,” said Gracenote’s VP of research Markus Cremer for a previous behind-the-scenes look at the company’s AI work. Unsupervised, Gracenote’s system could for example decide to pay attention to compression artifacts, and match them to moods, with Cremer joking that the system may decide: “It’s all 96 kbps, so this makes me sad.”

However, categorizing music on a song level can ultimately help make it more accessible — especially now that people don’t spend a long time navigating through their carefully curated collections anymore, but simply ask their smart speaker to start playing something. Said Hamilton: “These new turbo-charged style descriptors will revolutionize how the world’s music is organized and curated, ultimately delivering the freshest, most personalized playlists to keep fans listening.”

 

 

More Digital

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content