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Suitors reportedly lining up for

By | Published on Tuesday 15 July 2014

It’s all about the playlists these days, isn’t it? That’s where the smart venture capital’s going. And if any venture capitalists out there are interested in acquiring the CMU playlists archive, well, a good steak dinner and they’re yours. A good steak dinner mind. I’m a shrewd businessman. I’m not being tricked into an Aberdeen Steak House, oh no.

So yes, apps and platforms that aggregate playlists playable via Spotify et al, that’s what we’re here to talk about today, and following the news last week that US playlisting site had secured $2 million in investment, there is inevitable speculation this week that UK-based playlist aggregator is in talks with potential suitors.

Although the playlist start-up is yet to formally comment, a source has told TechCrunch that – formerly ShareMyPlaylists – has now been approached with offers from a number of companies, including tech and music firms. And said sources seem to be predicting that a deal could occur in the next few weeks.

Start-ups that have been busy creating playlists over recent years – whether by having in-house curation teams or allowing punters to upload their own lists – are now of interest to two sets of bidders. Streaming platforms which reckon they need an inbuilt playlists library to help users navigate their vast catalogues of music (hence Google’s acquisition of Songza). And investors who reckon that streaming service agnostic playlist platforms are the future. is very much in the latter camp, enabling users to listen to playlists through a variety of streaming services, depending on their personal preferences, subscriptions, location and track availability. to date has been very much locked to Spotify, its own technology being focused on helping users find the playlist they are looking for. Though while its playlist library would be of value to a streaming platform, it too might be best to pursue a platform agnostic future (maybe by merging with Tomahawk to become a full-on competitor, but with a bigger library of lists).

Of course, if we do start to see serious money being invested into playlisting platforms which themselves do not licence any music from the labels and publishers, the question might be raised again about the intellectual property in playlists themselves. If a DJ, artist or other notable is generating traffic with their playlists of music in which they don’t have a personal stake, will they start to seek a royalty for use of their compilation skills?

Which, legally speaking, reposes the questions first raised in the Ministry Of Sound v Spotify dispute that never got to court. Ministry, by the way, having settled with Spotify in the playlisting litigation, is now loading its content up onto the streaming platform.