Sony Corporation of America has agreed to pay $260 million (plus contingencies) to acquire Gracenote, the company that owns and operates the former CDDB database used to power track name and album info lookups in a variety of jukebox applications and music services—including Apple’s iTunes. Gracenote also offers lyric lookup services and track matching services, whereby users (say, on a mobile phone) can record a snippet of a song and Gracenote will do its best to identify it.
Sony says it will continue to operate Gracenote’s existing businesses as a separate entity, and Gracenote’s senior management will continue with Sony. Gracenote has also been working on integrating its technology into mobile phones, home audio gear, and in-vehicle audio systems (including some from Sony, as well as competitors like Panasonic and Philips). Gracenote has also been building a movie library for identifying DVDs and a media identification system for identifying copyrighted material.
“We are very pleased to join Sony as its strategic vision is very much in line with our own,” said Gracenote CEO Craig Palmer, in a statement. “Having a closer connection with the content and digital services community will accelerate adoption of Gracenote technologies, and the relationship will also give us the resources necessary to rapidly expand development of next generation products for the industry.”
Neither company provided any information on what “contingent consideration” would be paid on top of the $260 million, but they expect the deal to close in late May.