Algorithm Gets Major-Label Distribution Deal

Endel is a music app that, according to a press release, “produces personalized sounds to help you focus and relax… The technology is backed by science and uses personal inputs such as time of day, location, heart rate, weather to create custom sound frequencies to enhance one’s mood towards sleep, relaxation and focus.”

The Alexa Fund, Japan’s humongous Avex Inc., and Major Lazer’s Jillionaire are listed as investors in Endel, which is available to Alexa users as of this week through the Alexa Skills Store or Amazon.com. According to the same press release, it’s “the first Alexa skill app to use predictive mechanics.”

It’s also the first algorithm to sign a distribution deal with a major label. As Pitchfork points out, Endel has inked a contract with Warner Bros. Records to release 20 “mood and productivity-boosting” albums this year (again, that phrasing is from the Endel PR). Five of those albums are already out, comprising Endel’s Sleep series: Clear Night, Rainy Night, Cloudy Afternoon, Cloudy Night, and Foggy Morning. You can hear them here. Each of Endel’s other three series, Focus, Relax, and On-The-Go, will get five albums apiece before the end of 2019.

You read a lot of complaints these days about algorithms wielding undue influence in the music industry, and this certainly takes that to another level. Below, find an explanatory video.

We welcome our new robot overlords?

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated Warner had signed Endel to a record deal rather than a distribution deal.

Tags: Endel