Songza: Can a "Musical Concierge" Match Your Mood?
"Working? Relaxing? At the gym? Songza plays you the right music at the right time."
Or so it thinks. I do a lot of weird stuff, Songza.
As I write this, I am still nursing a swift kick in the feels after a brutally frustrating Sunday-evening Texans loss to the New England Patriots. Where is the playlist for that, Songza? Where is "Sunday evening, holding back tears while driving on 59 while listening to Andre Johnson being interviewed about aging"?
What would you play for me then? Really sad Beck? Tom Waits? I could have used that.
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Songza is a music site that has been around since late 2007, gone through various changes and just last year became a bigger player in the streaming-music game. I had been watching it, but never dipped my toes inside it. Sometimes all it takes is a few bored office drones and a few tech advances to make a great idea better. Last summer it went massive in Canada and tablet downloads have been brisk.
One of Songza's biggest draws is the custom playlists (via "Music Concierge") it curates for users by asking a series of questions about what they are doing and how they are feeling. It doesn't get much more specific beyond day of the week, time of day, and a series of moods and events, which are pretty humorous.
Are that many people really looking at pictures of their exes and floating in space after midnight? I guess we've all been there.
Songza is free, and features no ads in between music, but I can see that changing down the line. There are a few Web ads but not of the terribly intrusive variety, unless you are offended by Fuse and Google+. There are no Old Navy ads playing in between your songs.
Songza isn't just a carbon copy of Pandora, which only asks for an artist or song to begin your musical journey, and molds the playlist along the way. Songza also does that, but with a fresh twist.
You can also search for artists and find playlists featuring your chosen artist and genre. Asking for the Misfits, Songza will hand you a Dead Boys, Ramones, Adolescents and Operation Ivy-filled playlist, with other playlists thrown in for good measure.
You can create a playlist on Songza, but the legal rub is, "Due to licensing restrictions, playlist contributors cannot listen to their own playlists, but everyone else can," which is kinda dumb. Anyway, I made a morning mix full of punk and metal that goes great with coffee. I hope you enjoy it even if I can't.
Check out "Chess Upon The Thames," which is full of great selections from the British blues boom: Cream, the Groundhogs, the Animals. The classic country playlists aren't bad, either. When you lead off with Guy Clark, you sorta win everything.
Signing up for Songza is easy with a Facebook account, and it follows your friends who also have Songza accounts, which is convenient and creepy. Now my friends know that the first thing I reached for on Songza was "New Age Beginnings."
The site touts that their playlists are "made by an expert team of music critics, DJs, musicians and musicologists," which in 2013 means almost everyone with an iTunes account and access to WiFi.
Right now it's Monday afternoon, I need an energy boost, and Songza is asking me if I am in the mood for hype rap, happy pop, upbeat '90s, fun and fast pop, or energetic indie.
I choose hype rap because I am fearful of what energetic indie means (probably fun) right now.
So do I want '90s club bangers, today's club bangers or hip-hop trunk rattlers? '90s club bangers it is. And Mase's "Feel So Good" starts me off, followed by Outkast and Foxy Brown.
That'll do, Songza, that'll do.
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