According to Bloomberg, Sony is in the market looking to sell Gracenote. Gracenote is audio-recognition software that is prominently used on Apple’s iTunes to retrieve data and images of users local music. Bloomberg says sources briefed on the matter point to Sony wanting to focus on less products as one of the reasons for the sale.
The unit, which is seeking to be an independent company and is talking with private-equity firms, has annual revenue of $100 million to $200 million, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because it’s still early in the sale process. Sony, which acquired Gracenote in 2008 for about $260 million, may reach an agreement by the end of the year, the person said.
The division is best known for providing the software that lets Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iTunes quickly identify songs when a user transfers tracks to a computer from a compact disc. The business has expanded to power many smartphone music applications that compete with Shazam Entertainment Ltd.’s song-recognition service. Gracenote also is integrating its software into televisions so marketers can learn what a person is watching and target ads based on demographics.
The people didn’t comment on Sony’s asking price or the potential acquirers. Sunok Pak, a spokeswoman for Emeryville, California-based Gracenote, said the company doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation. Dan Race, a Sony spokesman, also declined to comment. Sally Palmer, a spokeswoman for Qatalyst, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.
Whatever the reason for the sale, there is sure to be someone out there that will scoop this up quickly, depending on price of course. Hit the links below for sources.
- Microsoft partners with Sony’s Gracenote service to power Xbox Music matching (theverge.com)
- Gracenote Tapped by Microsoft to Power Music Recognition for Xbox Music (virtual-strategy.com)
- Sony’s Gracenote powers music-matching service for Xbox Music (venturebeat.com)