On July 2, Google announced the exciting news that it had bought U.S. based music streaming service, Songza. The search engine giant is obviously impressed with Songza’s great service using contextual expert-curated playlists to provide users with right music at the right time. Though there are no plans to bring any immediate changes to Songza, Google intends to use their expertise to enhance Google Play Music as well as the music experience on YouTube and other Google products.
With more and more people are listening to music on the Internet using their smartphones, tablets and personal computers (streaming music), services that customize playlists are growing in importance. Being available as Android and iOS apps, Songza is regarded a revolution in music streaming. Its ‘Music Concierge’ option for contextual playlists uses a library of expertly handcrafted playlists and easily maps the right playlist to according to the time of day, the day of the week, the device that you’re using, your past preferences and what you want a track for. You don’t need to have any particular song or artist in mind – Songza will provide you with the ideal music for your moment within 10 seconds or less, absolutely free. For instance, you can choose customized music sets for “a weekday dance party” or “taking the day off”. It’s no wonder that this great music service had 5.5 million active users in the U.S. by the end of 2013.
Another notable feature of this music streaming service is that when you are listening to a piece of music, it can share your activity by sending it to Facebook. The application will share the radio station as well as each song. Overall, bringing curation to music is beyond suggesting people who like something might like another thing related to it. It is simply delivering an experience ‘aware of the context in which you want music’. The various times of the day, week, activities and different weather conditions are matched with the help of a team of people creating playlists. It is estimated that collecting data for a single song might require 20 minutes and with Songza, Google can do this much faster. By acquiring Songza, Google has acquired a popular personalized radio app along with a team of playlist curators and a heap of data that tells how people have been listening to the music.
It’s not that Google did not try to enhance its music streaming experience. In March, the search engine giant optimized the search experience with a new app feature on +Google Play Music that creates a radio station based on recently played music. By tapping the mic in their Google Search app and saying “Play some music”, users get an “I’m feeling lucky” radio station designed based on what they have been listening to recently. Then in June, it introduced a new search option – when users search for musicians or bands they get the option to play their music in an app of their choice by clicking a link in the search results.
However, curation with customized playlists is definitely superior to the computer generated playlists that Google Play Music’s “radio” curation offers. The Washington Post reports this acquisition aims at enhancing radio features with Google Play Music by adding Songza’s expertise on context. And with this, we can expect that Google’s music streaming service will get the much-needed competitive edge.