There’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of The Echo Nest. As a self-professed music intelligence company, Echo Nest at its best when running quietly behind the scenes, providing developers with insight into their listeners’ musical tastes and behaviors. In fact, you might better know Echo Nest as the company that powers Spotify Radio and VEVO’s new personalized recommendation features.
Thanks to its machine learning technology, Echo Nest has laboriously built what is now one of the largest repositories of dynamic music data in the world, with 5 billion data points encompassing over 30 million songs. The Somerville-based company has come along way since spinning out of MIT’s Media Lab in 2005, having inked deals with Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, eMusic, MOG, Spotify, Nokia, the BBC, and VEVO. And today, its progress has been validated in a serious way, as the company announced that it has closed a $17 million round of financing.
The investment was led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from the startup’s prior investors Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Partners, Fringe Partners, Jim Palotta and board member Michael Brown. The round brings Echo Nest’s total funding to just over $27 million, making it one of the most-funded music data companies out there.
As the company now powers music applications from bigs like Spotify as well as thousands of independent developers, Echo Nest’s technology now reaches over 150 million end users each month. While the team is guarded when it comes to sharing insight into their financials, Echo Nest CEO Jim Lucchese tells us that sales have increased seven-fold over the last 18 months and that its overall query volume — the number of questions it sees about music every month — has grown 20-times-over in the last year to 250 million queries per month.
On top of already working with European customers like the BBC, the CEO tells us that the company has seen a big spike in inbound interest from international developers and music companies, particularly in South America and Eastern Europe. That’s part of the reason that the startup was eager to take on its 17 million dollar bills — to begin really focusing on international sales, marketing, and business development. He expects its current team of 40 to grow significantly in the coming months.