Songza is an online music and recommendation service that features a number of curated playlists designed for different activities and moods, consistent with the company slogan: “good music makes good times.” According to the Songza website, the thousand of curated playlists are compiled by music experts, like DJs, music critics, musicologists, and musicians themselves. Launched in 2007 and purchased by Google for a reported 39 million dollars in 2014, Songza consistently garners high ratings among users and app reviewers alike. Among free music streaming services, it boasts one of the most loyal fan bases.
Songza is a stand-out in the industry, for many reasons:
Songza's most charming feature is the "Music Concierge." The Concierge, featured on the main page, suggests up to six situations based on the time of day. Each situation is further divided into genre categories. For example, on a Monday evening, Songza might suggest "Working Out," "Making Dinner," or "Family Time." "Making Dinner" might be divided into categories like "Country Comfort" and "Sweet and Smooth R&B." Genres are divided even further into individual playlists. The music the user selects will continue playing even if they navigate out of that playlist to explore other music.
Songza offers thousands of playlists and millions of songs. The number grows as the service's curators add more music.
Songza offers mobile apps for Android, Amazon, and Apple, including iPad and the Kindle Fire. The apps are frequently featured in both the Android and Apple app stores' "Best Of" lists.
Users may upvote or downvote individual songs to shape each curated station. Downvoted songs will stop playing immediately and then never play again. Users may also favorite certain playlists for easy access later under the Favorites tab.
The Songza music experience is largely ad-free. Advertisements are designed to be as seamless as possible, blended directly into the website's design. The music player itself has no advertisements.
The Songza website is beautifully designed and simple to navigate. It features a navigation bar, with quick links to useful parts of the site, and nothing else. Navigating the site is a pleasure, music aside, as the background colors shift as the day progresses.
Songza offers an extensive and eclectic music catalog. Users may browse music within four categories: "Activities," "Genres," "Moods," and "Decades."
Songza streams music at 128 kbps.
Club Songza, an ad-free app that costs $0.99 a week, offers content in addition to what's available on the Songza site, like activities for certain holidays. For example, over the 4th of July weekend following its launch, Club Songza featured a number of activity suggestions related to star gazing. The free version has ads, but it only display one full-screen ad per day, after which users may continue using it, unencumbered. The app is available through the Apple store.
Songza has fewer users than most other comparable websites, but it now has access to Google's funds, audience, and creative powers, thanks to the 2014 acquisition.
Signing up for Songza through Facebook lets users interact with friends and share music discoveries online.
Songza is only available in the United States and Canada, despite demand elsewhere. It is unclear whether the service will expand following Google's acquisition. This means that Songza users likely won't be able to use the Concierge or listen to their favorite playlists while traveling outside North America.
Users are not able to upload songs for streaming.
Users cannot generate their own playlists, whether through a seed or by inputting songs directly. It is also impossible to see a list of songs available in a playlist before playing it, as Songza's license prevents it from releasing the names.
Users cannot search for certain songs. The search feature is designed to accept playlists, artists, and activities only.
Songza is not available for streaming on platforms outside desktop and mobile-like gaming systems or TV plugins-unless streamed directly from the web.
There is no censor option for explicit lyrics.
While Songza offers a comprehensive self-help portal, there is very little guidance available to people whose questions are not included in the extremely limited FAQ page.
The Bottom Line
Songza's unique design and ease of use set it apart from most other, similar services. It is ideal for anyone willing to listen to music they've never heard before, in an engaging and unprecedented format. It's clear in Songza's presentation that each set of music is carefully screened, and only the best songs make the final cut. Other streaming websites might offer similar features, but almost certainly for a much steeper price. Songza is worth a try purely for the novelty of choosing music based on the time of day and the activities that a music website assumes people are most likely to be engaged in.