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Songza Makes its First Trip Outside US and One Million Canadians Can’t Be Wrong

Free music stream­ing ser­vice Songza has offered it wares out­side the US for the first time and bagged itself a mil­lion new users in the process.

Sounds impres­sive, but when you add to that the fact that these Songza con­verts have signed up in a lit­tle over two months then the fig­ures are real­ly rather star­tling and great news for any­one look­ing for music media jobs. It also snatched one mil­lion new users in just 10 days in the US fol­low­ing its iPad launch, and has accrued two mil­lion more since then. The $1.5 mil­lion the com­pa­ny attract­ed in out­side fund­ing in a round led by Amazon.com Inc., Deep Fork and Meta­mor­phic also inspires con­fi­dence.

So what is it about Songza that makes it so attrac­tive?

It’s a free music stream­ing ser­vice that oper­ates on a radio license and can pro­vide lis­ten­ers with per­son­al­ized playlists. So far, so Spo­ti­fy and Pan­do­ra. How­ev­er, when you add into the mix that Cana­da doesn’t have access to either Spo­ti­fy or Pan­do­ra then it per­haps begins to make a lit­tle more sense. Cana­di­an audi­ences can use Rdio or 8tracks, but these aren’t even in the same league as the afore­men­tioned stream­ing giants.

So What Is It About Songza?

First­ly, Songza’s unique offer is that it can offer playlists based on the time of the day, your mood, the sea­son or genre. As you lis­ten to more music, the more Songza’s music meis­ters have to play with, and they base their sug­ges­tions on songs and lists you have pre­vi­ous­ly cho­sen.

Unlike The Genome Project there are actu­al peo­ple at Songza (25 of them to be exact)who will analyse what users are lis­ten­ing to, what they’re doing while they lis­ten to cer­tain songs and gen­res, what time of day they’re doing cer­tain things, what mood they’re in – you get the idea. Users will then be pre­sent­ed with new playlists based on what they usu­al­ly do on a cer­tain day, what gen­res they like etc etc .This pack­age is called the ‘Music Concierge’.

Does it Make Any Mon­ey?

When the team behind Songza is so noto­ri­ous­ly tight-lipped about the finan­cials, it’s only nat­ur­al to want to know how this app brings in any mon­ey.

The ser­vice does involve non-audio ads via the iAd net­work, but it’s the way it uses its playlists that’s real­ly smart. Songza allows celebri­ties and big brands to col­late their own playlists which come all liv­er­ied up in their team’s colours. Justin Beiber and Ke$ha already have their own Songza lists (among others)and the com­pa­ny even cut a deal with Mer­cedes to pro­vide all of the music for New York Fash­ion Week. When you’ve got some of the World’s biggest cul­tur­al icons get­ting on board, then the users are sure to fol­low.

It’s a fab­u­lous­ly sim­ple mod­el. Get the big boys into bed and the users will come. Get the users and more big boys will fol­low. This is cer­tain­ly a com­pa­ny to keep an eye on if you’re on the look­out for a job in music media.

Co-founder Elias Roman admits that the real mon­e­ti­za­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties lay with this brand­ed or spon­sored con­tent. The afore­men­tioned Mer­cedes link-up spawned a Mer­cedes-Benz fit­ness playlist that was deliv­ered in con­junc­tion with NY Fash­ion Week, while a ‘Clean and Hap­py’ list was devel­oped with eco-friend­ly clean­ing prod­ucts spe­cial­ists Method Prod­ucts Inc.

Roman said: “We’re basi­cal­ly tak­ing lifestyle brands and work­ing with them to cre­ate real­ly inter­est­ing con­tent on Songza that makes some spe­cif­ic part of their day hap­pi­er.” He con­tin­ued by stat­ing that he believed brands would pay to be asso­ci­at­ed with that ‘hap­py’ time.

 Is it Sus­tain­able?

The sweep­ing suc­cess Songza has expe­ri­enced fol­low­ing its Cana­di­an launch – one mil­lion new Cana­di­an users equates to rough­ly one third of the pop­u­la­tion – was remark­ably sim­i­lar to the service’s US iPad launch. How­ev­er there are always peo­ple right around the cor­ner ready to steal your thun­der, and in Songza’s case they need to keep their eye on Slack­er Inc., Tunezy and the afore­men­tioned Rdio Inc.

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