The Echo Nest, Developer of "Music Brain," Taps VCs for $1.3M

UPDATED: The Echo Nest, a Somerville, Mass.-based music recommendation engine creator, has raised $1.3 million in a new round of funding from venture investors. The startup, which has announced partnerships with the Spotify and MOG music services, had previously raised an undisclosed amount of money from Commonwealth Capital Ventures, hedge fund Argos Management, and angel investors including MIT professor Barry Vercoe, and has also won grants from the National Science Foundation. The Echo Nest’s new round includes 14 investors, and the company claims less than $1 million in revenue, according to a regulatory filing.

While Pandora, the Net radio provider, relies on expert human analysis and taxonomy, and Last.fm tracks social music patterns to crowdsource recommendations, The Echo Nest’s “music brain” draws from both semantic analysis of text found around the web and analysis of musical elements such as tempo, key and time signature to suggest music. In May, The Echo Nest demonstrated how its technology would power Spotify’s “extend playlist” function, while MOG said in November that it would use The Echo Nest’s tools to add discovery elements to its All Access music subscription service. The Echo Nest also develops analytics and marketing tools for artists and labels. Update: Jim Lucchese, the Echo Nest’s CEO, e-mailed me to say that the new round includes three first-time backers: MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, hedge fund manager and Boston Celtics co-owner Jim Pallotta, and former Compete CEO Don McLagan. The company’s existing investors and angels also followed on in the new round, which will be used for continued product enhancements.

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