Sony on Monday announced that the company has entered into an agreement to sell off its Gracenote music data unit to Chicago-based Tribune for $170 million. The announcement comes just five years after the consumer electronics conglomerate bought the media identifying service for $260 million.

Founded in 1998, Gracenote provides largest database of audio and video metadata, and is the world's leading distributor of this content. Some popular music services that use Gracenote's technology include iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora. Odd as it may seem but Xbox Music, Microsoft's answer to iTunes, is also powered by the same technology.

According to the company, Gracenote's database gets more than 550 million look-up requests for media identification each day.

Apart from music, Gracenote has been working to incorporate its Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology into television, which can be used to provide targeted ads to users. The company is partnering with TV manufacturers (like LG) as well as with video ad providers in this regard.

The deal, which is scheduled to close before March 31 next year, will not only provide Tribune with Gracenote's technology but also access to a database of 180 million music videos and tracks. This will help Tribune in gaining an edge over its digital entertainment competitor Rovi.

For Sony, which reported a quarterly loss of around $200 million in October, the sell off falls in line with the company's cost reduction strategy.