Songza, a free app that streams expertly curated playlists to your phone, tablet or computer based on your activities, has topped 1 million downloads in Canada. The app only launched a couple months ago (70 days ago, to be exact).
It goes to show the power of a creative business model. Songza competes in an incredibly crowded space, yet does so in an entirely unique way. Unlike Pandora, Songza’s playlists are curated by music experts to match various moods, activities, seasons, and genres.
And rather than make you go hunt for the music you like, thinking up some artists’ name or a CD you once loved, Songza calculates the time of day, day of the week, and uses the devices you’re on to make suggestions for what you might be doing at the time. Once it knows you’re studying, or partying, or trying to get it on, it then offers up playlists that suit your mood.
I know what you’re thinking: how is this free app bringing in any money?
Well, along with non-audio ads through the iAd network, Songza lets brand and celebrities hop on the platform with self-branded playlists. Justin Bieber has one. Ke$ha, too. And when hot ticket celebs think it’s cool, the brands only follow.
Songza even had a deal with Mercedes to provide all the music for New York Fashion Week (besides the actual runway show music). It’s a beautiful cycle. The more events and celeb playlists Songza is involved in, the more users they get. The more users, the more deals.
We’re not quite sure how sustainable all this is; Songza won’t share exact revenue figures or even complete user numbers, but we’re certain that growth is outstanding. Upon the launch of the iPad app, Songza nabbed 1 million new users in ten days, and they added another 2 million since then, not including the newfound Canadian following.
I’m sure it helps that there is no Pandora in Canada, and my friend Darrell from the Great White North assures me that the Songza experience is highly competitive to Canadian alternatives like Rdio and 8tracks. This may also explain why average engagement was a bit higher in Canada.
The most popular mood searched in Canada and America was “Mellow.” In the U.S., the second most popular mood was “Happy,” whereas in Canada the number 2 mood is “Sexual.” Interesting.