The Echo Nest, the Somerville-based music intelligence platform, has raised $17.3 million in a round led by Norwest Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Matrix, Commonwealth Capital, and Fringe.

The new funds will go towards increased sales efforts, including internationally, where the company has already seen strong inbound interest.

“Today we’re still an engineering dominated company with just a couple of sales guys,” said CEO Jim Lucchese. But that is about to change. “With the amount of demand we’re seeing and the overall growth in the space we feel it’s really the right time to grow aggressively on the sales side,” he continued.

With music streaming taking off, the company seems to have hit an inflection point, with a 20x increase in queries to the platform over the last 12 months.

Lucchese attributed his decision to go with Norwest to one partner, Jeff Crowe, whom he said had strong experience in helping data driven businesses scale, and who joins The Echo Nest’s board.

The Echo Nest’s platform is essentially the data and intelligence behind many popular music streaming apps, with services like Spotify accessing its API. Or, as Lucchese succinctly put it, “We basically answer questions about music.”

The company also announced two new product updates that point to its future. Taste Profile Similarity is essentially a social news offering. The company already has “taste profiles” for users and now offers application developers the ability to tap into a feature that recommends similar users.

The second is a preview of “affinity prediction” features that will be forthcoming. Basically, The Echo Nest can use your musical preferences to predict other things you’d like, a feature that you can imagine plenty of developers and businesses will be excited to get their hands on.

“We just see a huge opportunity around understanding musical identity,” Lucchese told me of the new features. “It’s really kind of the launchpad to all the other stuff that we’re doing.”

The Echo Nest raised $7 million in October 2010. This funding brings its total to $25.6 million.