My opinion of Songza is based on random steps I’ve taken in my life. I believe music itself is like this, so it makes sense that music apps are discovered, cherished, hated, whatever, for similar reasons. Maybe someone discovered Bassdrive before Pandora and they don’t care for Pandora as a result. Maybe Groove Salad doesn’t play that song that keeps saying, “orange” over and over anymore, so now I listen to it in iTunes, after finally finding out who created the song.
My current opinion is that Songza is neat but it’s not enough to make me use it as my primary app for listening. I always go back to iTunes and Spotify. I think I have room for basically one home base, but in either local or streaming. Spotify blurs this line, but I still see it solidly as the streamed service.
I think songza is good at the things that internet radio has been good at for a long time. Literally, internet radio, like pandora or soma.fm. If you know the groove you’re looking for, you can use songza to find matching music. If you just woke up, they have playlists good for waking up in indy rock, metal, electronic, etc.
It doesn’t matter too much that it’s songza as long as the stream is decent, but if (when) they screw up I’m gonna look for other playlists that are similar. I’m still looking for the same mood, but that last song sucked and I’m impatient, so I need something new immediately that is roughly the same. With regular Internet radio, you’re kinda stuck, but with Songza or Pandora you can just skip forward, which is good, but I’m already out of whatever I’m working on if I have to pick up the phone and hit a button. Worst case scenario, in my opinion, for a system generating my playlist.
Spotify’s radio, however, is just a feature so I’ll throw it on when I’m unsure what I want to listen to and flip over to a playlist when I have a more specific want. The interruption is basically to go from something I don’t control, where I get serendipity instead, to something I do control where I can make a specific experience and the interruption doesn’t bother me much. It almost always results in a stream I know I can throw on for a bunch of hours while I code.
I guess, between the obvious uses for native and Spotify being something of a cloud-backed, kitchen-sink I still don’t see myself being a serious internet radio user, though I was back in the early 2000’s. I can make my own radio by hitting shuffle on a playlist with 4000+ songs in it. One is made of files I own and the other is made of files I stream. I can even make a radio station out of the files I stream to sprinkle a little randomness on the experience.