When Apple spent $3 billion to buy Beats, it certainly made the headlines, but the company also goes to great lengths to keep smaller deals under wraps. One that has completely flown under the radar is its recent acquisition of Musicmetric. The service, if you're not aware, specializes in tracking how artists and their tracks are performing not only in the charts, but how often they're being pirated or how many potential new listeners they might have over a certain amount of time.
Musically reports that Apple may have taken control of Semetric, the UK company behind Musicmetric, as far back as October, but only notified UK authorities earlier this month. But what does it want with the company? Considering that Apple now operates two music services, iTunes and Beats Music, providing enhanced trends and listener data for music labels and rights holders could certainly be a priority. Musicmetric pulls in its data from P2P networks, reviews and comments from millions of websites, blogs and social networks, giving Apple a better understanding of what artists have "buzz" or are going viral before its actually reflected on iTunes or Beats Music.
The change of ownership could have a knock-on effect on one of Apple's music rivals too. Spotify teamed up with Musicmetric at the start of 2013, providing analytics for over 20 million tracks alongside Musicmetric's other music data. That said, Spotify already owns The Echo Nest, a "music intelligence platform" that analyzes links between artists and tracks (and powers Spotify's own radio service).
Given the nature of Musicmetric, it's not likely to become a dedicated Apple service. Instead, it's likely that Apple will collect detailed information on how music, but also movies, TV shows and other digital offerings are performing across the web, while providing users with trending charts and better recommendations. Apple is reportedly already working to incorporate Beats Music into iTunes, maybe it could use those new datasets to understand that people aren't really fans of U2.