Decibel. Tracking Tunes.


While it’s not the first time a music related startup has been profiled as part of the blog, the industry itself is unique in its constant drive towards innovation. From the early days of Napster to current giants Spotify, and Pandora, the entertainment industry has generally been on the forefront of any new wave in technology.

For any fun that’s to be had though, there has to be the work horse making it happen. Like a chef in a hot kitchen preparing a meal at a five star restaurant, Decibel provides the tools, and data for the music discovery and recommendation engines we use daily.

What Is It?

Decibel is a growing company in the music intelligence market. What’s that you ask?

Let’s put it this way, as their website states, they provide up to 160 bits of data per track, offering metadata based on a series of graphs, and enabling app creators to access a seemingly endless amount of information related to the songs they want to include on their respective platforms.

The company is based out of London, and is headed by the duo of CEO Evan Stein, and Senior Counsel Adrian Corbett. It was founded in 2010, and has already been making a name for itself.

Along with a Finalist position in MidenNet Lab 2011, the company also can boast a number of prime clients including EMI for their ‘Blue Note App’, and music app ‘Jugglit’.

How Does It Work?

Decibel offers data collection as its service to potential customers. The metadata it provides will not only provide intelligence on the details of a single track (including copyright, producers, and engineers), but it also includes API access, and tools which will connect different songs trough a recommendation procedure.

This in-depth information is showcased via graphs, and other tools which allow the company’s clients to access an array of detailed data related not only to the track they’re looking into, but other similar content that might also run along those lines.

In addition to this, Decibel also offers numerous customized services, including data cleansing, and its data mining procedure which can offer up to date research for select clients.

Of course, as with any startup providing such a detailed insight into the music world, the service does come with a cost. Decibel currently employs three different membership scales which vary on (besides the price of subscription) access to bandwidth, copyright information, and Bespoke data services.

The Verdict

I’ll be honest, before Adrian Corbett introduced me to the company, I wasn’t aware of its existence. That probably isn’t rare, given the nature of the firm, selling data to the companies which produce the music apps we all listen to. However, becoming accustomed to it has shed light on the value it holds for those it serves.

Being able to access such a comprehensive archive of metadata, chart it through graphs, and work with the company for custom research assignments means that the possibilities for further expansion are abundant.

Music is a field that’s never going to stop growing, and offering a dynamic service centered on an industry like entertainment is the equivalent of selling oil from an endless well. There will always be a market, and as long as Decibel manages to continue providing data with the same efficiency, from an outside point of view I don’t see why they shouldn’t be able to add more partners such as EMI to their list.

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