Category Archives: sponsors

Gracenote lives and breathes music

Gracenote's VP of Services, Eric Allen, performing "California Love" at the Gracenote Jam

Gracenote’s VP of Services, Eric
Allen, performing “California Love” at the Gracenote Jam

Pretty much a household brand name these days, Gracenote touches hundreds of millions of music fans and TV viewers everyday. Gracenote is the industry standard for music and video recognition and is supported by the largest source of music and video metadata on the planet, featuring descriptions of more than 130M tracks and TV listings for 30+ countries. We’re proud to have Gracenote be this year’s Mosh Pit sponsor at Silicon Valley Rocks. We caught up with them this week to chat about their company’s commitment to music education.

Tell us about your commitment to the community. Describe some of your philanthropic efforts.
Gracenote is a Sony company. Every year we participate in initiatives close to our heart and the community – from raising money for Tsunami survivors in Japan to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Locally, we have participated in beach clean-ups here in Emeryville, and we offer matching dollar (up $2,500) for donations for employees who want to give to the arts.

Describe any new products or initiatives that would relate to the Silicon Valley Rocks audience.
At Gracenote, we live and breathe music. Our company’s music recognition technology and metadata power some of the biggest names in music technology today, including iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Even if you have never heard of Gracenote, most likely you have used a product featuring us. The company gets more than 550 million daily queries to its music and video database, making Gracenote one of the most trafficked music sources in the world.

Why is it important to keep music education alive in schools?
Not all of us here in the Bay Area are born to be coders, engineers, developers or even business leaders. Some of us are creatives and artists that need a little help realizing our talents and developing our skills. If you ask most musicians and songwriters, they will often tell you that they realized their passion for music at an early age. And many of them had a teacher or a mentor who offered kind words of encouragement or gave them the confidence to get up on stage to share their gift with others. As our educational system makes cuts to the arts, we risk losing tomorrow’s teachers and music programs that have given so many artists a chance to succeed.

What was your own experience learning music growing up?
We actually had dedicated music classes all through junior high and high school. The arts were strongly encouraged, almost on par with some of the athletic programs. The times they are a changing. Today, much of the cost of music education is being passed along to parents or is taking place in private programs off campus.

Anything else we should add?
Let’s rock!

Why Silicon Valley Bank Likes Music

Aren’t you lucky when your day job and your passion are one in the same, or at least you work somewhere that lets you weave the two together? The entrepreneurial mindset and casual nature of Silicon Valley seems to lend itself to an outsized number of musicians-at-heart working in the tech sector.

We’re not surprised and we completely understand. At Silicon Valley Bank, we spend our days with the entrepreneurs and their investors who continuously impress us with their creative ideas and mathematical minds. It stands to reason that a good number would also be great musicians.

Believe it or not, there are even some bankers in on the act. 

A little known fact: not all bankers wear suits and ties (see photo). Some even forgo the navy sport coat and khakis. Silicon Valley Bank’s in-house band, The Exploding Warrants, is becoming so popular it’s tough for them to work in their day jobs sometimes. As longs as the finance guys aren’t listening (kidding), we’re finding that’s a good thing. A great thing, in fact.

A corporate culture that encourages personal expression, a fun atmosphere, and a sweet gig for its musicians (the Exploding Warrants have played The Fillmore and SXSW in the last two years), is hugely valuable for its team. As a company, you become more collaborative, more generous, more creative and more human.

All of this translates to better output, more productivity, happier clients and eventually the bottom line … we’re still a bank, after all. We often say that we’re inspired by our innovative clients, and that’s true in a number of ways. As individuals we are in awe of some of the technologies and life-saving solutions our clients bring to market. As a company, we’ve learned a lot about how to be a great place to work by watching how they do it.

We’re likely preaching to the rock band here, since your companies have no doubt figured this all out.

Keep inspiring us. We’ll be looking forward to seeing and hearing the talent Silicon Valley Rocks delivers in just a couple more weeks.


Banking the world’s most innovative companies and exclusive wineries, Silicon Valley Bank’s diverse financial services, knowledge, global network, and world class service increase our clients’ probability of success.   With more than $20 billion in assets and nearly 1,600 employees, we provide commercial, international and private banking through 33 locations worldwide. Forbes Magazine ranks SVB among America’s Best Banks and Fortune considers SVB one of the best places to work.