Songza, a lightly heralded or relatively unknown music streaming service with offices in New York has been acquired by Google, and although the terms of the deal have not been disclosed, reports are that the acquiring price was in excess of $39 million, which was well over the originally stated price of $15 million as a bidding war may have ensued.
The company’s signature is the Concierge service, which allows users to choose from selections of curated music that is categorized by genres or preferences. Songza’s users are asked to select music according to mood or to match activities or a particular genre. The application will intuitively sense the time of day, and make suggestions from its curated lists such the Classic WakeUp Call or the Mellow Evening Escape.
All of the playlists are curated by music journalists and DJs, and the music is accessed at the website. The lists can also be accessed with mobile devices powered by both iOS and Android devices, and also with Google’s Chromecast media streamer adapter that plugs into any HDTV port.
According to the terms of the purchase agreement made when Google bought Songza, which was launched in 2007,the current Employees will continue to work out of the office in Long Island, before being transferred to Google headquarters in New York City.
The company has changed hands several times since it was established. Founded by Aza Raskin and Scott Robin, it was sold to Amie Street, who later sold it to Amazon in August of 2010. The Music Concierge app was added in March of 2012, and was originally available for the iPhone. Users were allowed to make selections based on six circumstances such as the time of day or the mood in which the user may be. The feature was configured to provide support for the iPad in June of the same year, and during the first ten days of the roll-out it was downloaded more than 1.15 million times, and listed as the top free app for the iPad on Apple iTunes, and as the second most popular free iPhone app.
The Android version was released in August of 2012, and it also became the top free app after being released to Canada. The company has also developed a Windows 8 version.
When the purchase of Songza by Google, for an estimated $39 million has been finalized, the company expects that no immediate changes are imminent. In the future the app may be listed in Google Play. Integration with YouTube and other Google music products and services will not be entirely surprising, and Google hopes to expand the expertly curated playlists that provide Songza users with the right music whenever it is required.
The acquisition of Songza by Google follows in the same vein as the highly publicized purchase of Beats Electronics by Apple Computers. Although it may appear to be much smaller in scope, it may be as strategically important as the competition in music streaming accelerates. Amazon, which has invested in Songza, has recently launched its Prime streaming service, and there are several other players in the space such as Pandora, Spotify, which is linked to Facebook and Apple have also rolled out web-based radio service. With more than 5 million users, and more than $6.5 million raised in funding, the company was prepared to remain competitive.
By Dale Davidson