Sure, there are plenty of music streaming services out there, and even ones with amazing shareable playlists, but Songza differentiates by falling right into that sweet spot between Spotify and Pandora. The app’s most interesting feature, Concierge, sets up playlists based on day and time, with filters for whatever mood you might be in.
For example, on Wednesday morning, Concierge says that I’m most likely to want to listen to something for Work Or Study, Still Waking Up, or Working Out. If I change the settings to give me music for Late Friday Night, options change to Getting High, Getting Lucky, Nightcap, A Sweaty Dance Party, or Bedtime.
So let’s say I’m hypothetically getting lucky… Songza will offer me certain filters for that particular “activity” like Heartfelt, Aggressive, Tongue And Cheek, Smooth, and Mellow. Unfortunately, the Concierge feature which launched in an update last week is only available on iOS and the web right now.
And that’s only one part of the app — the part that makes people like me, who aren’t up-to-date on music and don’t have the energy to explore, seem really awesome when friends come over.
But the other part of the app — Explore — is for those who love the fact that Pandora introduces them to brand new music. Of course, Concierge does the same thing, but the Explore tab really lets you find the best possible music for a specific circumstance.
So let’s pose another hypothetical: you’re throwing a dinner party. The food’s ready, the house is clean, and guests are set to arrive in five minutes. The only thing that isn’t prepped is the music, and you know that making a playlist (especially one that’s going to make you look like a music connoisseur) is going to take more than the five minutes that you have.
That’s where Songza comes in and takes care of all the heavy lifting.
All the music in the app is already a part of curated playlists, set up by what Songza refers to as a network of “music experts.” You can browse playlists based on moods (like Angsty, Gloomy, Introspective, Rowdy, Spacey, and Visceral), or even better, you can choose your playlist based on activity.
Songza’s list of activities is quite long and varied, and includes stuff like Coming Down After A Party, Between The Sheets, Coding, Driving In The Left Lane, Getting High, Lying Low On A Sunday Afternoon, Making Out, Waking Up On The Right Side Of The Bed, and a whole lot more.
I’ve been tooling around the the app for about 24 hours, and trying to get a feel for the playlists. I come away from the day knowing that I’ll use this again, if only for the ability to match music to mood or activity so quickly. But past that, I’ll keep using it simply so I don’t end up listening to the same stuff over and over and over again.
Pandora is amazing, but when you’re trying to get the music just right for a certain activity, like working or having a quiet cocktail party, there are only so many stations that suit your specific tastes. And then you end up listening to those same stations for the rest of your life until your ears bleed. Spotify, on the other hand, forces a lot of work out of the user. You really need to go out and find what you want and set it up properly.
Songza’s offerings change every time you jump into the app, simply based on time and day. But they’re also compiled by people who are experts in certain genres and artists. You may have a great Bob Marley inspired playlist, but it won’t be as great as a Bob Marley superfan’s playlist.
Long story short, I think Songza deserves a spot in the ring with the big boys, especially considering it’s free, there are no audio ads, and no monthly limits. But you’d have to try it out to see for yourself.