Songza Founders Talk About Newly Launched Club Songza, Competition From Apple, Pandora

Songza is one of the hottest music-streaming services on the market, with a special feature called Concierge that matches specific, expertly crafted playlists with activities it thinks you might be doing based on time, day and your preferences.

Until very recently, Songza was an entirely free experience with a few visual ads (never audio ads) to help pay the Songza bills.

But Songza has just introduced a few new revenue streams to the mix, including native advertising, high-intensity pre-roll experiences, and a subscription ad-free version of the app called Club Songza. According to co-founders Elias Roman and Peter Asbill, users had been clamoring for an ad-free Songza for a long time, and now for $.99/month, they have it in Club Songza.

And beyond that, users will have access to exclusive content, including special activities like “stargazing,” celebrity-crafted playlists, and especially rare songs that can’t be heard anywhere else.

Obviously, $.99/month is a pretty low barrier to entry, but with the growth of Songza’s userbase, it should still rake in some cash for the startup. Songza reports that, in May, the streaming service saw 4.8 million monthly active users who spend around 70 million minutes every day on the service.

This is why competitors like iHeartRadio, which copied Songza’s concierge feature to a tee, Pandora and iRadio aren’t such a threat to the little music startup out of Long Island City, NY. Songza collects so much data around its users, and has been for so long, that the Concierge experience can’t really be copied, Roman tells me.

Plus, the company has plans down the road to finally nail social in the streaming space. Roman explains that one-to-many broadcasting is not very popular among many users, as it “outs” their feelings or activities in a way that’s personal. Instead, he sees one-to-one recommendations as a good way to make social work for Songza.