Google Acquires Songza: Music Service with Focus on Context

Google is buying online radio service Songza for an undisclosed amount, in a move that could lead to increased competition with Apple, Amazon and others. The Pandora-like service anticipates the kinds of songs users want to hear with contextual playlists, a model that could be key to a future focused on the Internet of Things. The deal comes after Apple purchased Beats Music, Amazon launched its Prime Music service, and Google’s own YouTube readies a music service for this summer.

“As competition in online music intensifies, and as technology moves toward a world that integrates the Internet into the machines that surround us, Songza’s chief asset for Google is its focus on context,” reports CNET. “New York-based Songza is a radio-style, free service similar to Pandora with a greater emphasis on serving up music appropriate for the particular listener at the moment of listening — something that will help technology work for consumers rather than the other way around.”


Songza’s approach is different from those of other on-demand services such as Beats and Spotify, which emphasize curated playlists and recommendations while they target paying subscribers by offering large catalogs without ads.

According to CNET, “Songza focuses on playlists curated by music experts that are designed for specific activities or occasions, which Songza then suggests to specific listeners based on seven points of context: day of week, time of day, the device used being used, weather, location, what the particular listener has done before considering those previous five points, and then what all other Songza listeners have done before given those five points.”

“We’re moving to a time when context is king, when people don’t have to find things,” said Songza CEO Elias Roman. “Technology is about to work a lot harder for us. It’s a cool thing to be a small part of that.”

Google said there would be no immediate changes to Songza, but the company plans to explore possible integration into Google Play Music, YouTube and other products.

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