Google bought Songza for an allegedly $39 million. Songza is a digital service offering human-curated music playlists. Started just three years ago, the service competes with larger internet music streaming actors as Pandora and Spotify. Songza launched in 2011 under the name Amie Street and worked as a music download service. Investors, including Amazon, poured $11 million thus giving the company resources to grow. The service had 5.5 million users at the end of 2013, which is not so impressive, compared to Pandora’s users who are more than 75 million. Songza has a free version with ads and a paid version. For $0.99 per week, the users can support the service and remove the ads. Why would Google be interested in the service, when the company already has music oriented services like Youtube and Google Play Music?
Google bought Songza for a very important strategic reason
Songza become famous for mastering a highly desirable combination. One element of the combination is the human curated playlists. Many other competitors relied on rendering automatic musical playlists based on tags, so Songza stands out. The other element is the ability to offer music tailored to each user. Songza can match the music to various moments of the day, like working or studying. The ability is even more precise with the help of Weather Channel. Songza and the weather forecast provider signed an agreement which will translate in more benefits for the users, playlists being adjusted in accordance to the weather. What come out of this combination are “contextual expert-curated playlists”. Google will surely use this huge database of listening habits to improve other services.
Google bought Songza, but for the time being it will not produce changes to the service. If we look at other moves made by Google, we might expect a subsequent absorption of the features and experience, possibly along with team members. Songza is excited about the acquisition, “We can’t think of a better company to join in our quest to provide the perfect soundtrack for everything you do.”
In a Pac-Man like war, Apple just swallowed Beats, a very similar service. Dr. Dre’s Beats had a price of $3 billion. Beats offers personalized playlists as well. The huge price covers the lucrative Beats Headphones, the company’s famous devices. Google bought Songza for a much lower price.
Streaming music becomes the standard listening behavior. So much that music streaming will be included in the official UK charts. To avoid skewing the charts, a maximum of ten times auditions will be counted per user.