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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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