Apple buys London startup Semetric

Emma Haslett
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Apple is thought to have paid $50m for the company (Source: Semetric)

Fresh from its $3bn (£2bn) of Dr Dre's Beats headphone brand, Apple has made its next big acquisition: UK music analytics startup Semetric.

In the strongest sign yet that it's moving its focus back to music, the US tech giant has paid an estimated $50m for the company, based in London.

The company, founded in 2008, provides analytics around online music, from streaming to online sales. Consensus seems to be that Apple will use its Musicmetric tool as part of its plans to relaunch the Beats Music streaming service later this year.

Semetric is one of an elite group of London startups absorbed into US tech giants. A year ago Google paid $400m for artificial intelligence company DeepMind Technologies. Days later, Farmville creator Zynga paid $527m for NaturalMotion, a games developer based in the city.

Semetric itself completed a £3m funding round in January, planning to expand into new areas including ebooks, TV, films and games.

Apple is expected to relaunch Beats Music later this year with a streaming service that undercuts major rival Spotify, which itself has left a big dent in Apple's iTunes download service.

The tech giant has the advantage in that it can pre-load its devices with its own service, thereby negating users' need to download Spotify.

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