After Spotify gut-punched its rivals by acquiring music recommendation service The Echo Nest, Rdio says it's making other arrangements.
In an interview with CNBC, Rdio CEO Anthony Bay said the company will stop using The Echo Nest to power its Internet radio features. “As far as we are concerned, they were a good partner, but we have other good partners and we'll move on," Bay said. "We, probably like most people, have multiple sources of data that we use. So we will stop using that source of data and use other sources.”
Rdio had been leaning heavily on The Echo Nest for new radio features that launched last fall. With Rdio, users can create stations based on artists, songs, playlists and albums, and can also create a “You FM” station that tailors to the user's musical tastes.
Those features were all powered by The Echo Nest's “Taste Profiles,” which try to figure out people's listening habits based on what they listen to, what they skip and what they “like.” For example, The Echo Nest can tell how diverse and adventurous your tastes are, and knows if you're more into mainstream or obscure stuff.
Although Spotify said The Echo Nest's toolkit would remain open to developers after the acquisition, a statement to Engadget last week suggested that Rdio and other direct competitors might be hamstrung. “In the few cases where The Echo Nest does work with direct competitors we will work with them to understand these relationships and determine the next business steps,” the company said. “The Echo Nest will meet all contractual obligations to all customers.”
It appears that Rdio isn't taking any chances, but it's unclear where exactly Rdio will get its data from. Some possibilities include Musikki, which according to Hypebot plans to launch a music data API next month, and Gracenote, which in January announced its own music personalization service called Rhythm.
For now, Rdio is still using The Echo Nest. In fact, a “powered by The Echo Nest” image still shows up on Rdio's Website and mobile apps when you play a radio station. Until that image disappears, we won't really know how replaceable The Echo Nest is.