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Compact Disc Data Base (1998-2000)
October 5, 1998; 19 years ago (1998-10-05)
Emeryville, California, United States
Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) Technology
Digital Video Fingerprinting
$98.76 million (2014)
Number of employees
Gracenote, Inc. provides music, video and sports metadata and
automatic content recognition (ACR) technologies to entertainment
services and companies, worldwide. Gracenote's music recognition
technologies compare digital music files to a worldwide database of
music information, enabling digital audio devices to identify songs.
The company licenses its technologies to developers of consumer
electronics devices and online media players, who integrate the
technologies into media players, home and car stereos, and digital
music devices. The company operates five businesses: Music, Video,
Sports, Automotive and Video Personalization. Headquartered in
Emeryville, California, the company employs approximately 1,700 people
in 20 offices around the world.
Gracenote is now a Nielsen company.
Gracenote is best known for MusicID, a music recognition software
which identifies compact discs and delivers artist metadata and cover
art to the desktop. The
Gracenote database includes music genre and
mood information, TV show descriptions, episode information and
channel line-ups, movie cast and crew information and sports
statistics and results. Companies including music services, TV
providers, consumer electronics manufacturers and automakers use
Gracenote data to power their content, universal search, navigation,
linking, discovery and personalized recommendations abilities.
Compact Disc Data Base),
Gracenote maintains and
licenses an Internet-accessible database containing information about
the contents of audio compact discs and vinyl records. It provides
software and metadata to businesses which enables their customers to
manage and search digital media.
Gracenote provides its media
management technology and global media database of digital
entertainment information to the mobile, automobile, portable, home,
and PC markets. Several software applications which were capable of
playing CDs (i.e.;
Media Go and iTunes,) used Gracenote's CDDB
technology. Winamp, once a major licensee, no longer has access to
Gracenote; the legacy media player program lost access to Gracenote
Winamp were sold by AOL in 2014. Redevelopment
Winamp continues by its new owner
Radionomy who have said future
Winamp versions will have access to an online music database. In
Tribune Media Company bought
Sony Corporation of
America. In December 2016, Tribune announced that it had reached an
agreement to sell
Gracenote to Nielsen Holdings, PLC. for $560
million. The purchase was completed on February 1, 2017.
5 See also
6 Notes and references
7 External links
Gracenote began in 1993 as an open-source project involving a CD
player program named xmcd and an associated database named CDDB. xmcd
CDDB were created by Ti Kan and Steve Scherf. Because CDs do not
contain any digitally-encoded information about their contents, Kan
and Scherf devised a technology which identifies and looks up CDs
based on TOC information stored at the beginning of each disc. A TOC,
or Table of Contents, is a list of offsets corresponding to the start
of each track on a CD. Its original database was created from and
continues to receive voluntary contributions from users. This led to a
licensing controversy when
Gracenote became commercialized.
On April 22, 2008,
Sony announced that it would acquire
$260 million. The acquisition was completed on June 2, 2008.
On September 9, 2010
Gracenote received its one billionth piece of
data, with a submission about the
Compact Disc release of Swans' My
Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky.
On December 23, 2013,
Sony announced it would sell
Tribune Media for $170 million. The acquisition closed in February
Gracenote was aligned with the
Tribune Media Services division
which focused on TV and Movie metadata and IDs.
On June 12, 2014,
Tribune Media Services merged with
Gracenote to form
one company under the
On July 9, 2014,
Tribune Media Company purchased What’s-ON, a
provider of TV data and advanced search offerings covering India and
the Middle East for $27 million. This acquisition expanded
Gracenote’s international video data footprint and brought key
recommendation technology into its IP portfolio.
On September 3, 2014,
Gracenote acquired Baseline, a Los-Angeles based
provider of film and TV data and information. Baseline had previously
been owned by the NY Times from 2006-2011 after which it was sold back
to its original owners. This $50 million purchase deepened
Gracenote’s existing video datasets and added the Studio System
database, a subscription-based resource for the Hollywood content
creation and distribution communities, to its line-up of
On October 2, 2014,
Gracenote purchased Australia-based TV and movie
data company HWW for $19 million US to expand its Asia Pacific
presence and international offerings.
On May 28, 2015,
Gracenote launched a new Sports vertical based on the
$54 million acquisitions of Amsterdam-based Infostrada Sports and
Halifax-based SportsDirect. This enabled the company to become a major
provider of music, video and sports data on a global scale.
On December 20, 2016,
Tribune Media announced that it was selling
Gracenote to the Nielsen Company for $540 million in cash. The
deal officially closed on February 1, 2017..In September 2017,
Gracenote partnered with Connekt and Ensequence to deliver real-time
offers on smart TVs.
With the acquisition by
Tribune Media in 2014 and subsequent
acquisitions of What’s-ON, HWW, Baseline, SportsDirect, and
Gracenote has expanded its core data product beyond
Music into Video and Sports.
Gracenote's early product line-up consisted of MusicID, Mobile
MusicID, Music Enrichment, Discover, Playlist, Playlist Plus, Media
VOCS, Classical Music Initiative, and Link. In April 2007, Gracenote
launched the first legal lyrics offering in the U.S. that was sold
to LyricFind in 2013.
Gracenote’s current Music offerings fall into three major
categories: Music Recognition, Music Data and Music Discovery. Its
Music Recognition product called MusicID® was originally developed as
a CD track-identification system.
Gracenote also operates a digital
file identification service which uses audio fingerprinting technology
to identify digital music files such as MP3s and deliver track level
metadata, album art and links to complementary content and services.
Its Music Data offering provides information describing Genre, Mood,
Era, Origin and Tempo for tens of millions of songs. Its Music
Discovery product called Rhythm™ delivers solutions enabling
personalized playlist and radio station creation.
Gracenote Auto puts Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology
into the car’s audio system to identify music playing from various
sources including AM/FM and satellite radio, CDs or streaming services
and deliver relevant metadata and cover art. In December 2015,
Gracenote launched its first audio technology,
Gracenote Dynamic EQ,
designed to help automakers and OEMs automatically tune connected car
audio systems to the optimal equalizer settings for individual songs
based on genre, mood and release date.
Gracenote’s Video platform called On Entertainment™ consists of TV
listings and schedules for approximately 85 countries and 35 languages
as well as TV and Movie data and related-imagery information for six
million TV shows and movies. On Entertainment is supported by
standardized TMS IDs for TV shows, movies and celebrities. These IDs
enable universal search across linear TV, OTT and VOD libraries and
make possible “season pass” DVR recordings.
Gracenote Sports provides live scores, play-by-play data, historical
results and records, schedules, player profiles and athlete
biographies for 4,500 leagues and competitions such as the NFL, MLB,
NBA, NHL, Premier League, F1, Bundesliga, Tour de France, Wimbledon
and the Olympics. Gracenote’s Podium product tracks all Olympic
competition results and rankings at elite and junior levels as well as
historical Olympic data going back to the very first modern games in
1896. In September 2015, the company announced DVR Extend which
enables TV providers to dynamically adjust DVR settings to ensure live
sports game recordings don’t get cut off in the event they go past
scheduled broadcast times.
Media Go and
Sonicstage all use Gracenote's CD track
Gracenote provides its products to a number of other
Online services from Yahoo! Music Jukebox, AOL, AmazonMP3, Spotify,
Winamp, MetroLyrics, Pandora, Google Music, and Tuneup Media;
Home and automotive products from Alpine, Bose, Panasonic, Philips,
Loewe, and Sony;
Mobile music applications from Samsung,
Sony Mobile Communication
(TrackID), KDDI (Japan), KTF (Korea), Musicwave (Europe).
Popular Lyrics website LyricWikia
Gracenote licensing controversy
CDDB was purchased by Escient, a consumer electronics
manufacturer, and operated as a business unit within the Indiana-based
CDDB was then spun out of
Escient and in July 2000 was
renamed Gracenote. The
CDDB database license was later changed to
include new terms. For instance, any programs using a
CDDB lookup had
to display a
CDDB logo while performing the lookup. Then, in March
2001, only licensed applications were provided access to the Gracenote
database. New licenses for CDDB1 (the original version of CDDB) were
no longer available, so programmers using
Gracenote services were
required to switch to CDDB2 (a new version incompatible with CDDB1).
This has been controversial, as the original
CDDB database was created
out of anonymous contributions, initially via the
Open Source xmcd CD
player program. Many listing contributors believed that the database
was open-source as well, because in 1997, cddb.com's download and
support pages had said it was released under the GPL.
CDDB claims that
license grant was an error.
List of online music databases
Automatic content recognition
Notes and references
^ "CDDB.com WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS.
^ a b c "Gracenot, Inc. Company profile". Hoover’s.
^ "Gracenote, Inc. Private Company Information". Businessweek.
SHOUTcast Forums - View Single Post -
Gracenote Services No Longer Work In Winamp: Reason Why Explained)".
forums.winamp.com. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
Winamp Official Forum
^ Lieberman, David (December 20, 2016). "
Tribune Media Agrees To Sell
Gracenote Data Services To Nielsen For $560M". Deadline.com. Pensky
Sony Corporation of America
Sony Corporation of America to Acquire Gracenote
Archived June 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
Sony Corporation of America
Sony Corporation of America Completes
Gracenote Acquisition Archived
May 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Cohen, Noam (2010-10-03). "Obsessions With Minutiae Thrive as
Databases". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
^ "Tribune Closes $170 Mil Cash Deal to Acquire Sony's Gracenote".
Variety. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
^ "Tribune Buys
Gracenote From Sony". The Wall Street Journal.
Retrieved 31 January 2015.
^ Michelle Clancy. "Tribune to merge Media Services into Gracenote
operations". Rapid TV News. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
^ Lawler, Ryan; Contributor. "Tribune Digital Ventures Acquires Indian
Electronic Program Guide Provider What's On". TechCrunch. Retrieved
^ Spangler, Todd. "Tribune Media's
Gracenote Acquires Baseline for $50
Million Cash". Variety. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
Gracenote targets Australia with $19M buy-up of TV & movie data
provider HWW". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
Gracenote Puts Up $54M for Two Sports Data Firms".
www.multichannel.com. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
^ "Nielsen will acquire Tribune-owned
Gracenote for $560M".
www.techcrunch.com. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
^ "Nielsen Completes Acquisition of Gracenote". Nielsen Press Release.
February 1, 2017.
^ O'Halloran, Joseph. "
Gracenote teams with Connekt, Ensequence to
deliver real-time offers on smart TVs". Rapid TV News. Retrieved
MetroLyrics get Authorized". techvibes.com. Retrieved 5 June
Gracenote unveils new Internet radio technology". Los Angeles
Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
Help Launch Music Services". Wall Street Journal.
Retrieved 5 January 2014.
^ "Gracenote's Dynamic EQ Automatically Tunes Car Stereo Systems One
Song At A Time". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
^ "Gracenote: DVRs To Extend Record Time If Sports Game Goes Into
Overtime". www.twice.com. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
^ "How iTunes remembers audio CDs". iTunes KB.
Gracenote Security Update June 27th, 2006". Archived from the
original on 2010-01-24. Affected Products:
Sony CONNECT Player, Sony
Sony SonicStage Mastering Studio
^ "Local Music Files". Spotify. Thanks to our collaboration with the
good people at Gracenote®, your MP3s can be made whole again.
^ "Google Play Legal Information". google.com. Retrieved 5 June
^ For more information, see Samsung Music Center: Samsung Multimedia
Sony and Ericsson are divorced". theregister.co.uk.
Retrieved 5 June 2015.
Gracenote – official site
Sequoia Capital provides venture capital funding to Gracenote
Gracenote Defends Its Evolution – an interview of Steve Scherf by
Gracenote Article discussed at Slashdot
Nielsen Media Research
Nielsen Business Media
Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems