Compiling data points on music

Echo Nest, sometimes called “the big data of music” was founded by MIT's Brian Whitman and Tristan Jehan. The company's technology mines data "from millions of songs streaming online. the company has compiled about a trillion data points from 35 million songs by 2.5 million artists.", It boasts of some big music industry clients like MTV and BBC.
Jehan’s dissertation, which he conducted in the Hyperinstruments Group, focused on the “content analysis” of music, extracting data on musical elements such as tempo, key and time signature. Whitman’s work — conducted under the tutelage of professor emeritus Barry Vercoe — looked at a “cultural analysis” of music, focusing on what different types of people were saying about music online.

Seeing technological and commercial potential in combining the two projects, the co-founders mixed and tweaked their studies — a content-based and cultural analysis of music — and created what Whitman calls “a big database of what music sounds like to a computer, and what it means to people.”