In an indication of music services’ growing sophistication, music intelligence platform the Echo Nest has closed a $17.3 million financing round led by Norwest Venture Partners. Prior investors Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Fringe Partners, Jim Pallotta and board member Michael Brown also participated in this round.

The Echo Nest already provides the brains behind music services like Spotify, Vevo, Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, eMusic, MOG, Nokia, MTV Music Meter and hundreds of others. It will use the funds to optimize the value of its API and huge library of music-related data by continuing product development, expanding internationally and strengthening its sales team.

Also today, the Echo Nest is announcing two product enhancements to its Fanalytics, tools which give companies more in-depth understanding of music listeners. One is Taste Profile Similarity, a data service that gives applications and music services the ability to connect like-minded fans within a larger group, even if these consumers don’t like the same band or have some other overt demonstration of their similarities.

This is an extension of its Taste Profiles, a web service that builds a profile of each listener based on factors like music collection and listening behavior patterns.

The other is the Echo Nest’s affinity prediction capabilities, which it is refining as a way of predicting preferences and psychographic attributes beyond music. One proof of concept app, for instance, determined a predictive correlation between musical activity and political affiliation.

“It is an exciting time to be working with The Echo Nest,” said Elliot Katzman, general partner at Commonwealth Capital Ventures. “Their customers integrate The Echo Nest’s innovative music intelligence platform into their own cutting-edge applications to enrich the listening experience of over 100 million fans every month. The company has continued to make excellent progress since our initial investment in 2008, and we are looking forward to even more exciting developments ahead.”

Related links:

The EchoNest – press release

The Echo Nest –

Norwest Venture Partners –

Commonwealth Capital Ventures –

Venture Beat – The Echo Nest rocks out to $17.3M from NVP to make music apps smarter

All Things D – Echo Nest Raises $17 Million for Musical Big Data

TechCrunch – Now Powering Music Intelligence For Spotify, VEVO & More, Echo Nest Nabs $17M To Go Big Abroad

Fast Company – “Musical Brain” Echo Nest Raises $17 Million, Turns From Tastemaker To Matchmaker

Paul Lamere, the Echo Nest director of Development, blog post –

Brian Whitman, the Echo Nest chief technology officer, blog post –

Photo by Flickr user Maximus_W, used under Creative Commons license