Soundtrack Your Brand: Smarter music streaming with Google Cloud Dataflow

About Soundtrack Your Brand

Soundtrack Your Brand is a music streaming service especially designed for businesses, providing bespoke background music for commercial operations worldwide.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: Sweden

By using Google Cloud Dataflow to enrich metadata in real-time on around 25,000 tracks published per day, Soundtrack Your Brand makes bespoke music streaming possible for thousands of businesses worldwide.

Google Cloud Results

  • Enables real-time data enrichment with sophisticated, scalable pipelines on Google Cloud Dataflow
  • Analyzes music use with Google BigQuery to generate insights on customer behaviour
  • Autoscales managed services at speed so staff can focus on development

Doubled its revenue and customer base for 3 years straight

By tailoring music streaming to the needs of commercial spaces such as restaurants and retailers, Swedish startup Soundtrack Your Brand has become the world’s fastest growing background music service. Customers can choose from hundreds of music channels through an easy-to-use dashboard that customizes playback in granular detail—such as screening explicit lyrics or scheduling how energy levels fluctuate throughout a day. Founded in 2013, today the company serves tens of thousands of business locations in close to 100 countries, with clients including McDonald’s, Tag Heuer, and Aesop.

“The key things we focus on are scalability, time to market, and operating the best resources available. Without Google Cloud Platform, meeting those needs would be impossible. Google’s managed services mean we can develop products fast with a small team, and its expanding set of services keep us at the forefront of technology.”

Carl Almgren, CTO, Soundtrack Your Brand

“If you work in the music domain, there’s never been more music released than there is now,” says Carl Almgren, CTO at Soundtrack Your Brand. “On average about 25,000 tracks are published every day of the year, as well as a huge back catalogue of tracks.” So that Soundtrack Your Brand can customise playback in depth, the metadata for every track is enriched along a complex data pipeline that determines details about tempo, genre, and audience suitability, among other things.

To process large and variable flows of new and old music, Soundtrack Your Brand looked to build a data pipeline that could scale at speed with minimal oversight. Google Cloud Platform was an ideal environment.

“The key things we focus on are scalability, time to market, and operating the best resources available,” says Carl. “Without Google Cloud Platform, meeting those needs would be impossible. The ease with which we can scale Google Kubernetes Engine, Google BigQuery, and Google Cloud Dataflow, compared to doing it ourselves, is what makes it possible for us to operate at this level. Google’s managed services mean we can develop products fast with a small team, and its expanding set of services keep us at the forefront of technology.”

“We built our product on Google Cloud Platform four years ago, when Google Cloud Platform had just been born. Google's way of adopting new features and making them available to us has been astonishing. Now TensorFlow and machine learning promise to take things to another level.”

Carl Almgren, CTO, Soundtrack Your Brand

Enriching music metadata as tracks arrive

For Soundtrack Your Brand, delivering highly customized music streaming means enhancing metadata on thousands of new tracks a day, covering everything from lyrics to audio analysis. In addition, Soundtrack Your Brand compensates artists and song writers when customers play their tracks anywhere in the world. Both of these foundational aspects of the company’s work require reliable data pipelines that scale to match fluctuating demand with maximum efficiency and minimal oversight.

To create them, Soundtrack Your Brand uses Google Cloud Dataflow. “It’s so easy for us to create scalable data pipelines with Google Cloud Dataflow,” says Carl. “Because it’s a managed service, we can run the pipeline 24/7 without worrying about configuring servers or setting up machines. We just define the work that needs to be done and Google takes care of the rest. The minute new content is made available to us, the pipeline kicks in and enriches it in more or less real time, rather than in a batch.”

The simple administrative tools in Google Cloud Dataflow enable Carl and his team to identify areas where the multiple nodes in the data pipeline may be malfunctioning or demanding additional resources. “Because we only pay for resources we use, we avoid inefficiencies,” says Carl. “We can keep costs in-line with daily use cycles, even across time zones.”

“We built our product on Google Cloud Platform four years ago, when Google Cloud Platform had just been born,” adds Carl. “It’s been an amazing journey since then to witness the evolution and transformation of the platform. Google's way of adopting new features and making them available to us has been astonishing. Google Cloud Dataflow was a key innovation for us, as was Google BigQuery and Google Kubernetes Engine. Now TensorFlow and machine learning promise to take things to another level.”

“Because Google Kubernetes Engine makes it really easy to deploy new types of scalable services, we can get new features out to our customers really quickly. We use continuous integration, so we deploy new versions of our service multiple times every day.”

Carl Almgren, CTO, Soundtrack Your Brand

Faster development to match market needs

Because Google Cloud Platform provides managed services, Soundtrack Your Brand can bring new services to market at speed, explains Carl. “We’ve been able to build our product with a small, super-efficient team only because we don't have to do all of the plumbing ourselves to keep our infrastructure running. Instead, we can focus on development and iterating quickly, taking ideas into production at speed.”

“Google is really at the forefront when it comes to containers,” says Carl. “It’s so fast at releasing new features relating to this area. Because Google Kubernetes Engine makes it really easy to deploy new types of scalable services, we can get new features out to our customers really quickly. We use continuous integration, so we deploy new versions of our service mulitple times every day, which are then A and B tested by groups of customers. The whole Kubernetes model makes this almost effortless, because it encapsulates a lot of the complexity that we might otherwise have to deal with. We get full control, but also ease of maintenance and none of the hassle of fiddling with configuration.”

Building better services with Google BigQuery feedback

With rapid, flexible scaling on Google Cloud Platform, Soundtrack Your Brand has achieved regular annual growth of over 100% for the last couple of years. Now the company is using Google BigQuery analysis to ascertain how customers listen to music and how it should develop its service accordingly.

“We had a really fruitful and valuable collaboration with the Google team in Sweden and received a lot of valuable insight from them,” says Carl. “Google’s combination of great local support with strong global engineering support has worked really, really well for us.”

About Soundtrack Your Brand

Soundtrack Your Brand is a music streaming service especially designed for businesses, providing bespoke background music for commercial operations worldwide.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: Sweden
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Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

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