• Gracenote Enables Pay-TV Operators to Pursue Music Services

    Music services are omnipresent, but pay-TV operators haven’t had much of a role. Seeking to change that, data provider Gracenote, a subsidiary of Tribune Media Company, has announced a suite of music data and services to enable pay-TV operators to launch their own music video channels and services, identify music on TV and search for artists’ on linear and on-demand programming.

    Noting that 72% of YouTube viewership is music videos (according to Statista), Gracenote believes pay-TV operators have an opportunity to launch various services that bring music videos to HDTVs and home media environments.

    Specifically, Gracenote is promoting its deep music database and recommendation algorithms to pay-TV operators so that subscribers can create customized music video playlists. Like other music services, the Gracenote-powered music offering will enable thumbs up and down reviews so that playlists evolve to be more customized over time.

    In addition, by marrying its music artists data to its movie and TV celebrity data, Gracenote enables pay-TV subscribers to find listings for their preferred artists’ TV appearance, such as on late-night TV or in movies as well as instances of when their songs are played in TV or movies.

    In the old days, the extent of pay-TV operators’ involvement with music was to carry MTV or other music-oriented TV channels. But with MTV migrating more toward original programming and online/mobile music services like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Google and other aggregating tens of millions of music fans, pay-TV operators have become the odd man out. While I periodically listen to Pandora via my Comcast X1, it doesn’t really provide any additional utility than using my iPad for example, to do the same thing.

    What Gracenote envisions is a far more robust involvement in music by pay-TV operators. This could be valuable to the extent music services would deliver more value and help operators retain subscribers who have myriad other OTT options. But how to deliver these services - for free or paid, on TV only or across devices, and so on, are just some of the issues operators will need to sort out. None of this is a slam-dunk, but music is indeed a big opportunity for operators and Gracenote enabling a variety of features and services is a positive for the industry.