This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher: Sony (SNE) is buying Gracenote for $260 million. Gracenote supplies the track names and other information on a CD when it’s played on a computer. The company is also working on a DVD information database, and a way of identifying copyrighted material in online videos, the AP reports.
Sony Corp. of America VP of software Tim Schaaff said that Gracenote’s platforms will help Sony “significantly enhance and accelerate its own digital content, service, and device initiatives.”
Particularly interesting: This is the Sony mothership buying the company, not the Sony-BMG music JV, and not Sony ATV music publishing, both of which might seem more natural fits for the service. But a nugget we happened to glean today makes the deal make a little more conceptual sense: While most consumers interact with Gracenote when they try to get track information from Apple’s iTunes (AAPL), we’re told that Gracenote is now making most of its money from deals with auto companies, which bundle the service in with high-end audio packages.
So we’re assuming here that Sony sees the value of bundling Gracenote with its own electronics business — which is of course vastly bigger than its middling music company.
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