The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, though we’ve heard the number $15 million being bantered about.
Songza will eventually be integrated into Google Play Music, and other services including YouTube, though Google says that Songza will remain unchanged for the moment. Its main focus is on curated playlists, which makes it somewhat unique in the world of streaming music services.
This is a contrast to larger players like Spotify, Pandora, and Google’s own service, which use algorithms to construct customized playlists.
Google itself has already long employed machine-learning technology and advanced machine listening to identify a listener’s preference. While its streaming service, All Access Music is primarily “on-demand”, it will also generate “Instant Mix” playlists. These are personalized, based on preferences users have revealed in their selections.
The introduction of human-based curation, provided by experts including journalists and DJs is the main asset which Songza brings to the table. Songza doesn’t have nearly the number of users as services like Spotify, so it doesn’t seem like that Google is interested in its user base.
The purchase is undoubtedly intended to help Google stay competitive, especially after Apple’s recent purchase of Beats. Beats Music, which rolled out earlier this year, includes context-based playlists, though this has been offered by Songza since 2010.
In addition, over more than six years since its launch, Songza has accumulated an enormous amount of data involving what people like to listen to, even in the context of factors including time of day, weather, mood, location, or activities. This seems like just the sort of information which the folks at Google will have a field day with.
Songza already uses this data in its Concierge feature, which makes context-based recommendations. At the time of writing of this article, Songza was giving me suggestions including “Unwinding” and “Summer Vacation” (Though I’m enjoying neither at this particular moment, both seem reasonably for a late summer evening).
It’s also worth noting that in streaming music space, Google needs to catch up not only in numbers of users, but also in time. Pandora, for example, is powered by The Music Genome Project, which has been over ten years in the making.
If you’re a Songza user, I’d like to hear how you feel about the acquisition and the future of the product. For myself I’d like to see how this will further enhance Google Play Music, and future products like the Youtube streaming music service we’ve heard talk of. But I’m most interested to see what else our friends at Google will do with all the additional data and intelligence it just acquired.