clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Gracenote Wants to Let a Thousand Pandoras Bloom

The music data service wants to sell its own version of Internet radio to different brands.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Do you like Pandora, but wish it weren’t called Pandora?

How about a service that was just like Pandora, but had your company’s name instead?

That’s the pitch, more or less, today from Gracenote.

The music data service, acquired by Tribune late last month, is rolling out a white-label offering that’s supposed let any company create their own Web radio service. The idea, the company says, is to sell to brands and marketers — Gracenote mentioned Ford several times when I chatted with them — who might want to offer music as a bonus to their customers.

Gracenote Rhythm is in beta now, and will formally roll out in February; the company will be showing it off at CES next week. When it comes to market, it will be competing with Echo Nest, another music data company that has been selling Internet radio in a box for a while.

Gracenote argues that its service will be better because it uses more humans to help pick songs, and because it’s available in lots of international markets. I’ll let Echo Nest make its own pitch in response, if it cares to.

The bigger point is that Internet radio, which seemed novel a decade ago, has now entered commodity status — if you want to listen to music free, legally, on the Web, there are plenty of places to do it. A few more can’t be a bad thing.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.