Gracenote gets music fingerprinting tech

Digital music company Gracenote said Tuesday it had acquired the rights to technology from Philips Electronics that can identify song files by looking at their audio "fingerprints."

The fingerprinting technology is at the heart of new legal peer-to-peer services such as Napster founder Shawn Fanning's Snocap, and the Mashboxx file-swapping service it will soon support. By identifying songs as they are downloaded, the fingerprinting tools are used to block unauthorized trades. The Philips technology is also the foundation of Gracenote's own service that identifies music by holding a cell phone up to it.

Philips has been working on a similar technology to identify video files , which Gracenote will also gain rights to. As part of the agreement, Philips has taken an undisclosed equity stake in Gracenote.

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