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Gracenote Launches Digital Music Tracking Service

Gracenote (formerly CDDB ®), a content delivery platform specializing in music recognition technology, today announced a service that can track PC-based music listening habits, thereby revealing the most popular albums on the Internet and what people are listening to regionally.

Gracenote Data Services (GDS) aggregates this information weekly from over 27 million listeners worldwide, and 4,000 media players powered by the Gracenote CDDB Music Recognition Service(SM).

Every time a music fan listens to a CD in a Gracenote CDDB-enabled player, the database recognizes the song or album and logs it into the GDS database. Gracenote Data Services then compiles this aggregated activity into comprehensive usage reports on music played through CDDB-enabled applications. Gracenote’s aggregate statistics work just like “The New York Times Best Seller Booklist.” In the same way that book charts are developed on aggregate sales data rather than personal book purchases, Gracenote’s statistics are gathered in aggregate format.

In the past, the only data available about popular music was a sales figure from retailers and airplay data from radio stations. Now, GDS can discover what music fans are listening to digitally on a regional level, broken out by metro and day-parts. GDS products consist of the most advanced and accurate reports on aggregate usage and the geographic representation of fans who listen to music while connected to the Internet. These customized products and services enable GDS customers to gain competitive market intelligence to help analyze their competition and assess development, distribution, and partnership strategies.GDS reports are key to understanding the behavior of music consumers and helping media entities develop effective marketing and commerce strategies.

Gracenote Data Services can help record labels, radio stations, management companies, retailers, portals and advertisers effectively target their marketing dollars. Gracenote can provide a local analysis of the popularity of an artist in one region versus another, thereby alerting a promoter or record-label marketing department where to direct increased efforts. Beta participants for the service included Warner Music Group, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Island Def Jam, RCA, Arista, TVT, and Roadrunner, as well as other major and independent labels, management companies and trade publications.

“We constantly strive to find and utilize new technologies that help us make better decisions and target our marketing dollars more efficiently,” said Larry Mattera, Vice President of New Media, Island Def Jam. “Combined with sales and radio information, GDS is one more data tool that gets us closer to that goal. The service is a powerful step forward in helping us understand the listening habits of a generation of new consumers.”

“GDS is a great addition to our suite of research tools. It’s the missing piece of the data pie,” said Cheryl Khaner, Vice President of Adult Formats and Internet Radio Promotion at RCA records. “Audience listening preferences are what we really need to get our arms around as our music fan base continues to evolve.”

Gracenote Data Services currently offers five different ways to compile information on listening preferences: album by region; album by day-part; comparative albums by region; national album ranking; and album ranking by metro area. More report types will be incorporated and available for commercial use.

“Our mission is to introduce the most accurate, groundbreaking and user-friendly information service for the music industry,” says David Hyman, President of Gracenote. “GDS gathers statistics in an aggregate format so we can generate reports without infringing on the privacy of our end-users. We are only interested in what you listen to – not who you are – and are unable to access any personal user information through Gracenote Data Services.”

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