Songza, an app that creates curated playlists, recently announced it would be incorporated into Google Play Music at the end of January. Users will be able to migrate their Songza accounts, favorite songs, and music history, with Google promising to faithfully recreate the Songza experience.
So what is Songza? To be honest, I hadn’t heard of it until recently. This is likely my own fault. Songza was recognized in Apple’s App Store Best of 2012. It has over 34 thousand total ratings, and averages 4.5 stars. Am I about to fall in love with an app that could change drastically in a week or two?
The app works by reading your phone’s internal calendar and clock, and using that information to curate playlists based on how it thinks you’re currently spending your time. The app guessed (correctly) that I was at work, but failed to offer me a playlist of songs concerning existential angst and very-early mid-life crises. What it did offer me was topics such as, “Having Fun at Work,” “Focusing (No Lyrics),” and “Boosting Your Energy.” Upon choosing the first option, I was shown another list of topics. One, called “Whistling While You Work: Sing-Alongs,” caught my eye. Have you ever worked with someone who whistled, or SANG, while you were trying to work? Does Songza exclusively employ trolls to create its playlists?
I was not prepared for where choosing this option would take me; first was a Celine Dion cover of the Eric Carmen power ballad “All By Myself”. Next was “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls, and third was the theme song to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, sung by Peabo Bryson. There was also an option for “All-Star Rap-Alongs”, and a whole playlist dedicated to “Sing-Along Favorites from Disney Movies.”
If anything, the app is good for a laugh, or for driving with your friends on the way to something fun. Whereas apps like Pandora begin by working from criteria you give them, Songza seems to work by using the trial-and-error method. After Google takes over, I’m hoping the new infrastructure for Songza can make better suggestions for music; no one should have to be subjected to power ballads.