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Sony's Gracenote Moves PR Support To Horn
Aarti Shah
Holmes Report
COO & Senior Editor

Sony's Gracenote Moves PR Support To Horn

Gracenote, a division of Sony America, has tapped Horn as it looks to become a household name.

Aarti Shah

EMERYVILLE, CA — Gracenote, a division of Sony America, has tapped Horn as it looks to become a household name known for its massive database of music and video metadata.

With more than $100 million in revenues and 300 people across seven offices, Gracenote is looking to make its technology more recognizable to consumers and developers. This is driven, in part, by the company recently opening its API to allow for apps to access its database of more than 130 million descriptions of music tracks and TV listings. 

“A lot of people don’t know who we are but we get 500 million queries a day, that’s 15 billion per month --- we are in every aspect of entertainment,” said Graham McKenna, VP of marketing and communications at Gracenote. “You can’t be an invisible technology anymore. It used to be that B2B tech would sit in the background, but it’s not really the right move anymore. People need to know who you are.”

Gracenote, for instance, powers the genius recommendations at iTunes and will add descriptors -- like cover art or genre type -- for music unlocked onto iTunes Match. The company recently branched into the automotive space, enabling Toyota and Ford vehicles with features, such as voice recognition to control music that’s plugged into the vehicle via a smartphone. 

The company selected Horn for its mid six-figure business after a competitive review that included three other agencies. Work began on March 1 and is steeped in media relations and  speaking opps. The account is considered an anchor win for Horn’s San Francisco operations. Gracenote previously worked with the Concept Agency.

Tim O’Keefe, general manager for Horn’s San Francisco office, says in the past Gracenote’s narrative didn’t reach its full potential, and in turn, it was perceived as a catalogue company more than a tech player.

“Gracenote has a killer story to tell,” said O’Keefe. “They have a big data play - it’s just applied to entertainment. And they have the story of a fast-growing tech company.”

Formerly CDDB (Compact Disc Database), Gracenote was founded in the late 90s as a crowd-sourced hub for descriptors, like song titles and cover art, for CDs ripped onto platforms like iTunes. In 2008, Sony acquired the company but it continues to operate independently of its parent. Gracenote has recently made a push into into the video space with TV listings, including those for smart TVs.  

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