Warner Music Group Acquires A&R Tool Sodatone

Warner Music Group has acquired Sodatone, a tech start-up for an A&R insight tool founded in 2016. Sodatone’s proprietary technology combines streaming, social and touring data with machine learning. The platform identifies unsigned talent by tracking early predictors of success, such as the loyalty and engagement of a growing fan-base, and the potential virality of a track or demo. In addition, Sodatone provides insight into audience reaction to releases from established artists and songwriters. The service is particularly versatile in providing global and regional views, enabling A&R users to focus on specific territories as well as global reach.

The company will continue to be run by its founders, Arjun Bali and Jerry Zhang, two innovators with a background in data science, artificial intelligence and engineering. Reporting to Vinnie Freda, WMG’s Chief Data Officer, the duo will collaborate closely with A&R executives across WMG’s recorded music and music publishing operations.

Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group, says, “At Warner Music, we’re creating an entrepreneurial environment where art and technology thrive together. Arjun and Jerry are two talented pioneers, whose passion for algorithms and trends is matched by our love for music and culture. They understand that A&R instinct has always been informed by different types of data, and have created a tool that brings new sophistication and foresight to creative decisions. As the youngest member of our growing family of brands, Sodatone will help to differentiate us in the search for the superstars of tomorrow.”

Zhang and Bali added, “We chose Warner Music Group as our new home because we respect the company’s openness to experimentation and admire their approach to artist development. Having worked with so many music companies, it will be inspiring to be closer to the music-making process, and explore how we can fine-tune our technology to make it an even more powerful tool in the hands of the creatives. Max, Jon, Steve, Vinnie and the rest of the leadership team are very supportive of our ambitious plans for the future.”

Sodatone was originally hosted at the ‘Music Den’ incubator at Toronto’s Ryerson University and the University of Waterloo’s Velocity program.

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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