Tribune Company is buying Gracenote for $170 million

Media recognition specialist Gracenote is being acquired by Tribune Company for $170 million, both companies announced Monday. Tribune will combine Gracenote with Tribune Media Services, also known as TMS in the industry.

Tribune is buying Gracenote from Sony (s SNE), which acquired the company for $260 million in 2008. Reports that Sony was looking to offload Gracenote first surfaced last week.

Tribune Media Services may be best known for its news syndication business, but the company has also been supplying companies like TiVo (S TIVO) and Time Warner Cable with TV guide data. The Gracenote acquisition could help Tribune to expand this line of its business, as Gracenote supplies TV metadata for 28 countries.

Gracenote launched as a music recognition specialist in 1998 under the name CDDB. Back then, it offered users of MP3 converters and digital audio software an easy way to recognize and automatically tag their MP3s. The company has since added TV recognition and data services to its business, and has been trying to establish itself as a provider of personalized advertising solutions for pay TV providers.

But Gracenote also continues to be active in the music space, where it has been making headways in the automotive industry. Gracenote President Stephen White told me recently that he eventually wants to help terrestrial radio stations to use addressable advertising as well, allowing stations to replace ads based on a listener’s personal profile, location and more.

Check out my recent interview with White below: