Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio launches a new feature today called “Perfect for.” Available on iHeartRadio’s website and in its mobile apps, the company has shamelessly copied Songza‘s popular music concierge feature. Every step of the user experience is exactly the same, which mainly means that Songza is doing something right.
First, you are greeted with a message saying “It’s Monday morning, find the perfect station for.” For reference, Songza says “It’s Monday early morning, play music for.” Then, users select an activity like “chilling out,” “skipping school” or “singing in the shower.”
Finally, you select a music genre in order to start playing the right playlist or custom station for you. Once again, this is true for both services.
Maybe iHeartRadio’s playlist selection will work better than Songza’s music concierge, but Clear Channel is showing a clear lack of innovation with the new “Perfect for” feature. The company cites a few playlists like “Took My Wife, Took My Dog: Country’s Greatest Break-up Music,” “Full House: Gambling with Beats,” “Skinny Jeans: Boys with Guitars” and “Ambien-T: Ambient Music, Prescription Strength.”
iHeartRadio’s app will have one differentiating feature. In addition to providing custom playlists, the app will showcase live radio stations. iHeartRadio will be able to tap into its large user base of 20 million registered users as well.
Yet, what’s interesting about this new version is that a big company is proving that Songza is doing something right. Even though Pandora is now a large company, Clear Channel chose to copy a feature from a smaller startup. Often featured in the App Store, Songza has seen a big uptick in usage since introducing the music concierge feature.
Competitors noticed that and Songza may have created a new music browsing paradigm. Maybe iHeartRadio is just the first app to copy Songza’s user experience and other music services will do the same. Let’s just hope that users will remember who innovated in the first place.
Update: Here’s Songza CEO and co-founder Elias Roman’s statement.
Songza is offering something new and different and it is working: we make the daily routines of millions of people better. Years of iteration and data collection inform the technology, design and curation that make Songza work, but for another service to start down the trail that we’ve blazed does not come as a surprise. And after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.