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Google Acquires Curated Music Service Songza

Unknown Lamer posted about 1 month ago | from the all-manowar-all-the-time dept.

Music 45

mpicpp (3454017) writes with news that Google is expanding its online music services through acquisition. From the article: Songza focuses on playlists curated by music experts that are designed for specific activities or occasions and then suggested to specific listeners based on seven points of context: day of week, time of day, the device used being used, weather, location, what the particular listener has done before with the service considering those previous five points, and then what all other Songza listeners have done before given the first five context points.

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What? (1)

Neruocomp (513658) | about 1 month ago | (#47369035)

What is Songza?

Re:What? (3, Informative)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 1 month ago | (#47369113)

From the article, it's apparently an online radio service, similar to Pandora or Spotify, except instead of using machine-based algorithms to determine what you might like, it uses lists made by "music experts" based on criteria you give it. I hadn't heard of it before the article, but I might take a look when I get home from work.

Re:What? (1)

Major Ralph (2711189) | about 1 month ago | (#47369129)

Same, it sounds like it could be pretty neat. Though I wonder what they consider to be a "music expert."

Re:What? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369227)

That kid in the back of the class with his headphones on.

Re:What? (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 1 month ago | (#47369335)

So what soundtrack does it suggest to play whilst announcing another non-profitable acquisition?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47370439)

non-profitable? They can use this acquisition to drive traffic and sales to the google play music store. I love songza and google play music for different things, but now they will be one in the same

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369235)

it's pretty great, just find a few playlists you like and favorite them; rinse and repeat type of radio essentially

Re:What? (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 1 month ago | (#47369305)

I'd imagine it's one of those people on any given popular music torrent site that do things like make absurdly large vinyl rips (I've seen vinyl rips in FLAC where each track is upwards of 350MB) using specific hardware that no one's ever heard of and complain about CDs because they were pressed using the Japanese method instead of the German one.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47370379)

> (I've seen vinyl rips in FLAC where each track is upwards of 350MB)

That's a stretch.

192Khz * 24-bit = 576KB/s = ~35MB/min

350MB would be 10 minutes long uncompressed

Re:What? (1)

aitikin (909209) | about 1 month ago | (#47371033)

> (I've seen vinyl rips in FLAC where each track is upwards of 350MB)

That's a stretch.

192Khz * 24-bit = 576KB/s = ~35MB/min

350MB would be 10 minutes long uncompressed

That's for one track, not stereo. It would actually be about 69.12 MB/min or 4.14 GB/hr uncompressed, so, using conservative estimates, 3.105GB/hr FLAC.

Most people are wise enough not to bother with 192KHz, although some could argue for 96KHz, which still puts you at about half of the figures I stated above for a stereo track. 350MB is a 35 minute album done in 44.1KHz/16 bit at uncompressed or likely 44.1KHz and 24 bit done in FLAC or with really good FLAC compression, 48 KHz/24 bit.

This brings up a quick question for the GP, Joe, with the size of hard drives/solid state these days, why should you be so worried about file size? Audio quality makes a big difference in both perception and experience. 350MB for a high quality (audio quality not necessarily musical) album is a better way to enjoy a good (musical) album than a crummy 256 kbps MP3.

Re:What? (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 1 month ago | (#47371707)

The big reason would be that my mp3 player (I don't have a smartphone and my tablet has been declared 'too big for the gym") can't play FLAC files of that size. My tablet can, and my PC can, but the mp3 player just isn't strong enough to handle it. Really, it's only a problem because I don't have a smartphone.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47375117)

BS. FLAC decoding takes less performance than decoding an MP3. My Creative MP3 player handles FLAC fine. Yours is just a piece of shit.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47374051)

And? You don't have any music that is ten minutes or longer? Most of mine is, some being upwards of an hour or more.

I guess you just listen to the same three minute teen pop garbage over and over.

Re:What? (2)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 1 month ago | (#47370783)

I actually gave it a try at lunch on my tablet. The home screen on the site told me that it was Wednesday afternoon and gave me five suggestions, the first of which was essentially a "Top 40" list. I'm not into Top 40, so I tried the second one, which was I think "Energetic Songs". It gave me I think five playlist suggestions, two of which were "Twerk at Work" and some other thing related to twerking. The others were pop dance songs.

I wound up trying "Popular Indie", and getting a Jay Z song (apparently A-list rappers are indie now) and then more twerking songs.

So, in summary, this is probably great if your job somehow involves twerking, but I don't know how good it is for people like me.

Re:What? (1)

Nexzus (673421) | about 1 month ago | (#47369645)

I'll add, of the three: Pandora, Spotify and Songza, only Songza is [easily] available in Canada.

Re:What? (1)

ottothecow (600101) | about 1 month ago | (#47370667)

It's a pretty decent thing...although Spotify basically already has this. There are various "mood" based playlist options (like "Girls Night" "Lazy Chill Afternoon" "Indie Workout") as well as the ability to subscribe to other people's playlists (and there, you know who made it rather than "crafted by a songza expert"...e.g. you can listen to the Napster founder's playlists). Plus, you get the full power of spotify...so if you find a song on there that you like, you can directly add it to a playlist or go stream the whole album.

Songza forces you into the "radio" model where you can't actually pick songs...but it has a wider playlist variety. For instance, you can choose "Music for Working in an Office". From there you have a five choices like "Indie Music That's Not Too Weird" or "Easy, Breezy Summer Songs". Each of those has a few more choices underneath it--Under the Indie category, you get "Songs From Apple Commercials", "Mainstream Indie", and "Sunshine Indie Pop". This is a lot more than you get from Spotify. So you lose the direct song-level access, but you can really find playlists that fit what you want.

Its a good idea though. I've certainly tried to curate pandora/spotify radio playlists in a similar way, such as trying to create something that resembles a "Happy Summer" station rather than a "Sounds like XYZ Band" station. My guess is that Google will try to integrate it into their own Spotify competitor (Play Music). Works for them in two ways: enhances features for the paid service and attracts free songza users to the paid service (Want direct track control? Want to hear this whole album? Try Google Play Music free for 30 days)

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47374037)

LOL @ "music experts". I bet all of the playlists are filled with crap like the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd and other "classic" shit musicians along with the shitty mainstream staples of today like Kanye and Lady Gaga.

Re:What? (1)

IllogicalStudent (561279) | about 1 month ago | (#47374107)

From the article, it's apparently an online radio service, similar to Pandora or Spotify, except for the fact that it works in Canada.

There, FIFW. Google had better not break the one service we can reliably use up here without jumping through proxy hoops, or a bunch of us'll be pissed. I'm preparing the maple syrup cannons, just in case, eh?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47374111)

#$#$%!, FIFY . stupid me. See, messing up acronyms only happens when I'm mad.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47388389)

I've used Songza for quite a while and really like it. It's good for exploring music by genre. I wanted to boost my funk repertoire, so went and listened to some funk channels. But then I also wanted to go learn about some more prog metal bands, and went and listened to prog metal channels. They had some very credible selections there, and I also go to learn about some new bands. (I'm not sure about the quality of the indie and twerking channels....)

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369239)

My biggest beef with streaming services with this is how little on average they pay the artists.

It used to be that a musician could live from what they made from CDs. One could sell a few CDs at a gig and make enough cash to keep the gas in the band's van. Individual tracks came along and turned a $10.00 sale into 99 cents. Now, with streaming, artists earn a fraction of a penny per play.

I wish more bands would stick to their guns like Tool and only offer their album as a gestalt. Buy the album or pirate it. It at least means that each sale is a non-trivial amount. A fraction of a penny isn't even worth the time.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369451)

"Individual tracks came along and turned a $10.00 sale into 99 cents."

Only if you only have one good song on the album. The thing I used to hate the most was paying $15 or more for a CD that out of 15 tracks, 12 of them were GARBAGE. So I was paying $5 per GOOD song. Fuck that shit. What "Pay-per-track" does is it forces the artists to put out good stuff. If you put out crap, it does not sell, which is as it should be.

Re:What? (4, Informative)

BForrester (946915) | about 1 month ago | (#47369285)

What is Songza?

I don't know how popular it is as a browser-based service, but it's a very popular mobile app. Particularly when linked through home media systems, it allows a user to very quickly jump to a playlist based on a desired genre, activity, or mood.

Activities examples:

BBQ
Breaking Up
Driving in the Left Lane
Gaming
Getting High
Making Out
Unwinding after work

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369835)

BBQ
Check

Breaking Up

Driving in the Left Lane
Check

Gaming
Check

Getting High
Check

Making Out
Check

Unwinding after work
Check.

You now have me interested in this service!

Posting AC because Americans are still pretty irrational about getting high.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369309)

What is Songza?

A soon to be ruined music system which will be augmented to give Google more of your data, extend their advertising business, and be one more step into the evolution of Google as the evil empire it's been trying to become for years now.

Whatever it is, the fact that Google is buying it means it will be pretty much destroyed as it is now.

And, they'll be updating the EULA/ToS to make sure they own your data in perpetuity and anything evil and asshole-ish their lawyers can think of.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369641)

It's right there in the summary. But I guess it's funnier to prove the point that since you've never heard of it, it doesn't matter. Or maybe you actually want to spend time reading through answers to the question here instead of typing the name into Google for more information.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47370525)

Songza appears to be a service that focuses on playlists curated by music experts that are designed for specific activities or occasions and then suggested to specific listeners based on seven points of context: day of week, time of day, the device used being used, weather, location, what the particular listener has done before with the service considering those previous five points, and then what all other Songza listeners have done before given the first five context points.

Sounds Just like 8 tracks... (1)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 1 month ago | (#47369147)

8tracks has human created playlists as well, but I guess that wasn't good enough for google. They wanted playlists created by "music experts". What qualifies someone as a music expert?

Re:Sounds Just like 8 tracks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369191)

penis size

Re:Sounds Just like 8 tracks... (2)

TheSeeker11 (1061698) | about 1 month ago | (#47369233)

What qualifies someone as a music expert?

Amount of cardigans owned.

Songle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369249)

I have been using Songza for about a year now and while I can't say the music is curated by "experts" I can say that I love the service and that I've discovered new (and old) music that I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Awesome for parties too...except for the twerk tapes playlist...stay away from that. I generally think things touched by google end up a bit better off, though that's not always the case. Please overlord Google, don't fix what ain't broken.

Re:Songle (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | about 1 month ago | (#47369413)

I have recently become a heavy user of Songza, and one of the best features is the lack of ad breaks. I expect this to change pretty soon.

google kiss of death (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369261)

I had never heard of it. Sounds like a good service. I would start using it except now that google has bought it surely it'll be gone in 2 years.

Re:google kiss of death (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 1 month ago | (#47370469)

I had never heard of it. Sounds like a good service. I would start using it except now that google has bought it surely it'll be gone in 2 years.

Yes like YouTube, Android where are they?

Feng Shui (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369325)

Goddamn Feng Shui for music. Fucking pathetic.

the device used being used (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369411)

"the device used being used" WTF???

Fuck Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369469)

Fuck all these scumbag corporations who swallow up creativity and real innovation in order to further their agenda of endless greed and customer lock in.

Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369565)

I liked Songza. Guess its going away in the future.

Don't you mean "killing off"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369607)

Face it, this will not exist in a years time outside of a couple of features in Googles new artist-raping music service that is already pushing indies away from Youtube right now.

Microsoft 2.0.
I even have more respect for Microsoft right now. That is how bad it is.

no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47369639)

yet another app i'll never use, along with last.fm, pandora, songify, etc

Nothing new (2)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | about 1 month ago | (#47369819)

We're Google: Give us every detail of your life for a song.

Re:Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47370193)

i like how Songza's PR statement talks about users trust... fuckers.

Change the name, Google! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47370089)

'Google Songza' is certainly catchier than 'Google Play Music All Access'.

Location is a factor too? (2)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 1 month ago | (#47370295)

I dumped all other music providers about a year ago and now use Songza, particularly since it's mostly ad-free (and easy to download the streams). However, I've noticed that Songza's suggestions also seem to be location-based: when I'm at home in the sticks, I see a lot of country music suggestions, but when I'm in my office in the city, I mostly see rap and R&B suggestions.

Bah. (2)

ArtFart (578813) | about 1 month ago | (#47370327)

Just another opportunity for the Pigopolists to try to tell me what I'm supposed to like. Screw 'em.
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