Google recently purchased music-streaming company, Songza, for an undisclosed amount. This purchase didn’t come as any real shock, since Apple had recently purchased Beats and Amazon has created its own streaming music service.
But what is interesting is that Songza was largely unheard of by most people until the Google purchase. Many assumed that Songza was kind of a last grab for Google, since all the other big streaming services have already been snatched (no company wants to be left behind when it comes to the lucrative streaming scene).
The truth is, though, that Songza already has 5 million plus users, which is a lot more than the thousands that Beats claims. In short, Songza is no last place loser, and Google had very good reason to buy this company, which has a lot going for it. Here’s a closer look at what Google sees in Songza, and why millions of people are already using this service.
The Songza Difference
Both Beats and Songza employ humans to create suggested track lists for users. Beats employees gather user data based on the songs that users like to listen to, and then suggest additional songs based on those preferences. Songza employees curate lists based on the location and time of day that users listen to various songs, and suggested lists are created based on those preferences.
For example, if you choose to listen to uplifting music at 2pm every Wednesday, that could mean that whatever you’re doing at that time requires some tunes with a happy beat. Given that information, Songza list makers would then send you lists of tunes that are happy and can be used for that 2pm downtime or gym time or whatever time. When you log into Songza, depending on the time of day and week, different tunes will be suggested to you. The whole setup is very personalized, and that might be why there are already 5 million users.
What Google Wants
It’s clear to see what Google gets out of purchasing Songza. Google wants some streaming action, and Songza is just unique enough to have a strong following already. But, wait; doesn’t Google already have a streaming music service? Google does have Google Play Music, but that services relies on what has made Google so popular as a search engine: automated algorithms. As it turns out, people that use streaming music services want human generated song lists, and aren’t interested in what machines suggest. In other words, Google is buying the human minds behind the playlists.
Songza reps have told press that the company won’t change how it does business, but some speculate that Google will be using human algorithms to improve both Google Play Music and YouTube, and that could mean that those two services will be a whole lot better in the near future. For now, Songza remains a free service, too, and that might be one other very good reason why people prefer this company to Beats.