Google Buys Songza, Will Blend Streaming Music Service With Google Play

Google announced Tuesday that it is the proud new owner of its very own streaming music service, Songza. Acquiring the Queens, New York-based company, believed to have cost Google just $15 million, puts Google squarely into the streaming music game alongside such competing internet giants as Apple and Amazon

Apple’s recent $3 billion takeover of Beats Electronics includes that company’s streaming music service, though what Apple plans to do with it is not yet known. Amazon recently announced its new Prime Music service, which is included in the $99 per year “Amazon Prime” package which also buys Amazon customers free two-day shipping of warehouse items, and access to a Netflix-style streaming video collection.

Songza was founded in 2007 and, while similar to the streaming music giant Pandora, differs in that Songza features playlists assembled by human beings. Pandora allows users to pick a favorite song or artist, and then the Pandora algorithm puts together a playlist of music that shares similar qualities.

Songza playlsts are organized within such “contextual” categories as “Driving,” “Working Out,” “Cooking,” or “Summer Break,” theoretically allowing listeners to hear music appropriate for a specific mood, activity, or event.

Songza so far has remained a free service though like Pandora, Songza offers an option for users to pay a fee which removes advertisements.

Financial terms of the sale to Google were not announced, but Forbes reported that the price had earlier been rumored to be around $15 million — though competing buyout offers may have caused the price to go up, according to the technology news site Tech Crunch.

“Very few services look to human curation to enhance the music experience — Pandora, Spotify, and other big players rely heavily on algorithms — making this one of the key selling points of the service,” Tech Crunch wrote, explaining the appeal of Songza to Google. “Plus, Songza has tons of data around what people like to listen to based on the time of day, the weather, location, and activity, which can be immensely valuable to a company like Google who is looking to seamlessly integrate technology into every corner of your life.”

Google said that there will be no immediate changes to the Songza service, though it plans to integrate Songza features into its Google Play service, as well as into YouTube, the Google-owned online video site that has become something of an institution in the online age.

Google Play already includes a streaming music service known as All Access, but how the Songza acquisition will affect that feature was not made clear.