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App Review: Songza’s Custom Music Concierge

Ever feel like you get stuck in a rut, listening to the same music over and over again? Despite the fact that you are an avid Spotify/Pandora/SoundCloud/Rdio user, and you have 72 gigabytes of mp3s on your hard drive (not to mention your vinyl collection). Sometimes all of those choices can be overwhelming, and you probably don’t have time to make playlists for every occasion.

Yes, this definitely falls under the category of #firstworldproblems, but you know it sucks: that momentary anxiety that accompanies the indecision of what to listen to, when your options are literally limitless. Do you choose by artist? Album? Playlist? Classic favorites, or up-and-coming bands? How about an internet radio station?

I run into this issue when friends come over unexpectedly and I don’t have time to come up with a new party playlist, or to run through my mental rolodex of favorite albums and choose the perfect crowd pleaser. Then there are the mornings when I wake up wishing I hadn’t stayed up so late watching Netflix, and really need the musical equivalent of a triple shot of espresso but just don’t have the energy to think about it.

Not surprisingly, there’s an app for that. Songza is a (free!) musical discovery app that offers a dizzying variety of playlist options tailored for nearly any situation or preference.

Songza’s most genius feature is its Music Concierge service, which is the first thing you see when you open the app. Awash in neon colors that change throughout the day, the Music Concierge interface recognizes the day (Monday-Sunday) and time (Morning-Late Night), and offers a menu of six initial options for your current circumstances. Brand New Music and Driving are always on the menu, with other relevant choices like Cooking, Working Out, Entertaining Cool Friends, Putting on Your Party Dress, Sweaty Dance Party, Housework, Working in an Office (SFW), and the list goes on.

You can touch and hold any of these selections and Songza will automatically begin to play the most popular playlist for that category, or touch one and choose from six more genre-specific playlist selections (like ’70s Outlaw Country for Entertaining Cool Friends, or Indie Music That’s Not Too Weird for Working in an Office).

Songza also makes it easy to choose a playlist by Activity (from Driving in the Left Lane to Coming Down After a Party; Lounging in a Cool Hotel to Sitting on a Back Porch), Mood (Feeling Rowdy, Trashy, Lush, Earthy, Campy or Cocky?), Genre (including Film Scores, Hawaiian, Indie Folk & Americana, and even Nature Sounds), Decade (from the 1920s to 2010s and beyond), Culture (with Award Show Nominees, “Best of” lists, playlists by city, etc.), and Record Store Clerk (esoteric collections like Beatlemania and This Will Piss Off Your Parents), with even more specific playlists under each category.

New music, old music, music you loved once but had forgotten, Songza has a little bit of everything. Seriously, you will be shocked and amazed at the brilliance of these playlist themes–Southern Rappers Just Want to Have Fun, anyone? You might even be a little jealous you didn’t come up with them yourself, but it is so much easier to let Songza do the work! For instance, you might be feeling Mood>Lush>A Stiff Drink in a Dim Place, or Genre>Hawaiian>Tiki Bar.  


Songza allows you to save and share your favorite playlists. Apple users can also shake your iPhone/iPad and type exactly what you are doing, and let Songza suggest a category or popular playlist. Making breakfast? Take your pick of song collections tailored for your morning—or for any person, at any time, in any place. Additional features include a sleep timer (up to 120 minutes, so you can even leave it on at bedtime) and a clock view.

Songza is available for Apple, Android, and Windows, and was recently added to Google Chromecast as well. There are small ads at the bottom of the free app, but they don’t really get in the way; however an upgrade to “Club Songza” is available for $3.99 per month.

For news and playlist suggestions, check out Songza on Tumblr.


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