By now, you may have heard that Google acquired Songza for a rumored $15 million. That's a bargain, when you consider Apple's recent $3-billion purchase of Beats, which sells headphones, speakers and a streaming music service.
The big question about Songza: Is this streaming music service, available online as well as in free Android and iOS apps, a worthy alternative to Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music and all the other streaming music services?
The short answer: Absolutely. It only took a few minutes exploring the app to get me hooked.
Songza presents you with all sorts of curated music playlists. You have to sign in via Facebook or create a new account, but after that, you can start browsing to see what fits your mood.
For example, on the Wednesday night when I installed and gave Songza a try for the first time, the app opened in Concierge mode. Songza presented me with music categories it thought would be appropriate for a Wednesday night, such as "Brand New Music," "Working Out," "Unwinding," "Spending Time With Your Kids" and "Summer Break."
Tapping one of those categories gives you a choice of sub-categories. Tapping on "Summer Break," for instance, reveals such options as "Sitting Around a Bonfire" and "Dancing Barefoot on the Lawn." Tapping the latter gets you three playlists to choose from, including "Classic Rock Summer."
In general, I like the song selections in the playlists. I also appreciate the many other ways to get playlists tailored to specific activities, moods, genres and decades. One option under "Activities," for instance, is "Cocktail Party," which is made up of lots of fun playlists, including "Vintage Cocktail Hour Swing." There's even a "Southern Soul Barbecue" playlist.
Songza says it employs about 50 music curators, and their efforts show. It's a terrific app for anyone who wants to discover new music specifically tailored to what they're feeling at a given time.
The free version is probably fine for most people, but for $3 a month, you can get rid of all ads. (For the record, I didn't find the ads to be too intrusive.) That's the same amount you'd pay for a year of ad-free Pandora, by the way -- both are a bargain, in my opinion. The Beats Music service, which also gives you curated playlists, is $10 per month. Spotify, which allows you to create your own playlists, also costs $10 a month.
The bad news, if you're not a Google fan, is that The Big G plans to fold Songza's playlists into its $10-a-month Google Play Music All Access subscription service. So enjoy the free Songza -- while you still can.