Apple has acquired a small startup that could help the company deepen relationships with artists ready to hit the charts.
The tech giant acquired the startup, called Asaii, at some point in the last several weeks, Axios is reporting, citing sources. It’s unknown how much Apple paid for the startup, but one Axios source said the purchase price was likely less than $100 million. LinkedIn profiles of former Asaii employees have also been changed to working for Apple, further bolstering the claim.
Asaii’s business centered on music analysts and was designed for music labels and artist managers. The technology is used to build recommendations and also help those people find music and artists before they become international sensations.
While it’s unclear what Apple might want with Asaii, an Axios source said the company is planning to use it to find burgeoning artists and effectively turn Apple into a quasi-label. The move would ostensibly pave the way for Apple to find new talent, bring those people to music fans through Apple Music, and cut out competitors like Spotify from accessing their content.
Spotify has a similar service that allows the company to work with independent artists. Similar to the possible Apple plan, Spotify’s offering ties the company to its service and gives it access to content Apple can’t touch.
Of course, the notoriously secretive Apple isn’t talking about the Asaii acquisition and what it has planned for the buy. An Apple spokesman declined Fortune‘s request for comment on the report.