Peter Kafka

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Spotify Takes a Page From the Twitter Playbook, Buys Music Discovery App Tunigo

tunigo cardioLast fall, Twitter bought We Are Hunted, a “music discovery” startup that made a popular app for Spotify.

Apparently Spotify is paying attention: It just bought Tunigo, another music discovery startup with a popular Spotify app.

Spotify isn’t announcing terms for the deal, but says that all of the Swedish company’s 20 or so employees will come to work at Spotify’s offices in Stockholm and New York.

The Tunigo Spotify app will keep running (there’s also an iPhone app), but presumably Spotify’s new hires will be put to work on Spotify’s main service, which has 24 million users and six million paying subscribers. Tunigo had reportedly raised $3 million.

The We Are Hunted and Tunigo deals aren’t exactly parallel, since Twitter used We Are Hunted to build a brand-new music app, and Spotify doesn’t need one of those. But they do show that digital music companies are putting a renewed emphasis on helping people find stuff they like — which has the obvious benefit of keeping them on the service longer, and/or convincing them to pay for them.

Internet radio service Pandora has always been about discovery, but lots of other services have been content to assemble millions of tracks and ask listeners to poke through them on their own, or to ask their friends for recommendations.

Now lots of companies are starting to emphasize curation. That’s the entire point of Jimmy Iovine’s new Beats/Daisy music service, scheduled for launch later this year. And if Apple is able to hammer out deals with music labels — last I heard, they’re still stuck haggling with Sony Music and Sony/ATV, its related-but-separate publishing company — it will launch an iRadio service that combines elements of both Pandora and on-demand services.

If you have a Spotify subscription and haven’t played with Tunigo, by the way, it’s worth checking out: Like Web radio service Songza, it is focused on mood- and theme-based playlists, and it’s pretty good.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work