Spotify acquires music AI startup Niland as it looks to improve music discovery

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Spotify this week has acquired a music artificial intelligence startup called Niland as it looks to improve its music recommendation backend. Spotify announced the acquisition on its website, saying that AI can be instrumental in improving music search and recommendations.

At this point, specific information about the acquisition, such as how much Spotify paid, is unclear. In acquiring Niland, however, Spotify is further heating up its battle with Apple Music to provide the must accurate and refined recommendations to users. The Niland team will join Spotify’s New York offices and work on refining search and recommendation tools.

We are pleased to welcome Paris-based machine learning startup Niland to the Spotify family. Niland has changed the game for how AI technology can optimize music search and recommendation capabilities and shares Spotify’s passion for surfacing the right content to the right user at the right time.

The team from Niland will join our New York office and help Spotify continue innovating and improving our recommendation and personalization technologies resulting in more music discovery which benefits both fans and artists. Their innovative approach to AI and machine learning based recommendation systems is a perfect fit for the Spotify team.

While Niland isn’t necessarily a household name in the artificial intelligence space, its CEO Damien Tardieu has been researching for years on how best to form connections between various types of music, as CNBC notes. Spotify and many other services currently use something called collaborative filtering, which consists of analyzing public sources of information, such as blogs, to find when multiple artists, albums, or songs are referenced in the same context.

Niland, on the other hand, works by pulling meaningful information from raw music content and then forming those connections with other artists.

Last month, Spotify acquired a small startup called Mediachain as it works to improve its royalty payments to creators.

As for how this Niland acquisition will help Spotify compete with Apple Music remains to be seen. If you’ve used both Spotify and Apple Music, let us know which one you think provides the most accurate recommendations and search results down in the comments.

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