New York – Sony Corp. of America (SCA), which purchased Gracenote in June 2008 for about $260 million, is selling off the music and video metadata provider to Tribune Co. for $170 million.
Gracenote, founded in 1995, operates as a wholly owned, independent subsidiary of SCA. Sony expects the sale to close before March 31, subject to regulatory approvals.
Sony is selling off Gracenote “as part of our on-going initiative to transform our business portfolio,” a spokesperson said.
For its part, Gracenote said the deal “is really about bringing together two of the world’s top entertainment metadata providers.” Tribune Media Services (TMS) is a leading provider of TV listings and movie data used by TiVo, Time Warner Cable, and Roku, the spokesman said, while Gracenote is “a leader in music-recognition technology and metadata.” Combined, he said the two “will create one of the largest entertainment metadata companies in the world.”
Though Gracenote also has a movie and TV metadata business, music “continues to be the biggest part of our business,” the spokesman said.
Gracenote customers include Apple, Amazon, Spotify and other major music services. In cars, Gracenote is available through most automakers. A total of 50 million cars incorporate Gracenote technology, he said.
Gracenote technologies are also used in Sony’s products and services, including Sony Mobile products, Sony Blu-ray players, PlayStation, VAIO and the Sony Entertainment Network. Sony will remain a Gracenote customer, Sony’s spokesman noted.
Launching under the CDDB name in 1995, Gracenote initially offered a service in which consumers ripping music on their computers could access a CDDB database that would automatically identify songs and download song metadata to the computer. The company later added movies and TV shows to its metadata database.