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songza appMusic is important. The right song at the right time can make a big difference, as Hollywood has shown us countless times. But soundtracks aren’t just for films – they work for life, too. Sitting down in front of the computer to work, like I’m doing right now, is an emotionally neutral experience. Music is what adds that human flavor, and it can make the difference between a bland, boring (or even sad) day, and a fun, energetic one. Songza is a free online service for streaming music that’s appropriate for the current time and circumstances, and it’s wonderfully effective. It’s also US-only, but don’t let that stop you – we’ll get to that in a moment.

Songza is far from the first music streaming service we’ve reviewed. We’ve previously looked at Grooveshark, shared tips about using Spotify Make Better Use Of Spotify With These Top Tips And Tricks Make Better Use Of Spotify With These Top Tips And Tricks If you’ve invested time and money in playlists and a subscription, it makes sense to learn some of the lesser known functions and quirks that the Spotify client has to offer. There’s no denying the... Read More more effectively, and looked at an add-on that lets you enjoy Pandora with no ads Listen To Pandora In Peace - No Ads, No Tabs [Chrome] Listen To Pandora In Peace - No Ads, No Tabs [Chrome] Yes. It’s possible! With a simple browser extension in Google Chrome, you can listen to Pandora without any ads or even having it open. How? Let me introduce you to Anesidora. So how does Anesidora... Read More . But there’s something that makes Songza unique: Its ability to help you find not just “music you like,” but music that’s right for this very moment – music that works with whatever you’re trying to do.

Accessing Songza Globally

First, an important word on availability. There are few things more frustrating than reading a rave review about some service, only to discover you’re barred from using it due to your location. So, yes, Songza is geographically limited. But don’t let that stop you! I’m using the excellent UnoDNS Bypass Regional Locks with UnoDNS from UnoTelly [Giveaway] Bypass Regional Locks with UnoDNS from UnoTelly [Giveaway] >Are you frustrated by the international blocks that stop you from watching Hulu? Are you a UK Netflix user, annoyed that the American selection of movies and TV shows is orders of magnitude larger than... Read More to access it (and Hulu, and many other services) regardless of my location. You could also use a VPN DNS Is Just A Proxy - Use A VPN To Access Region Blocked Video DNS Is Just A Proxy - Use A VPN To Access Region Blocked Video For copyright reasons, certain media companies only allow their content to be viewed in certain geographic areas. In plain English, what this means is that they are meanies who suck. And what does the Internet... Read More to access Songza from anywhere. The bottom line here is that it’s easy and inexpensive (and if you happen to be reading this from the US, well, lucky you).

The Music Concierge

Like so many other streaming services, Songza lets you search for artists you like, or hunt for playlists. Yay – that’s nice, but not overly exciting. Where it shines is the unique Music Concierge feature, which is a concept I haven’t seen anywhere else:

songza app

Whereas other services just find music I like, or maybe music based on artists, Songza uses a time-based approach. As I access the site, it detects the current time and date (in my own location – geolocation isn’t an issue for this feature). I then get to pick one of five probable activities Songza could help me with right now. These change according to the day or week – for example, Songza tends to offer “cooking” as an activity on some evenings. I find the icons beautifully descriptive, and there’s always at least one activity that describes well what I’m trying to do. In this case, I’m going to click through to “Easing into the Day”:

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songza review

This takes me into the second stage of the Concierge process, asking me to pick a genre. Again, the descriptions are succinct, but they work. Not just “Indie,” but “Warm & Wistful Indie.” The adjectives help. “Easy-going folk” sounds appealing to me right now, so let’s go with that:

songza review

Finally, Songza boils down my selections into one of three possible playlists, each with a nice handwritten description, and artist thumbnails. Let’s zoom in one one to get a closer look at the text:

songza review

You don’t have to read the whole description, of course. One of the few drawbacks of the Concierge interface is that the thumbnails are almost useless at this point: They’re tiny, and hovering the mouse over them yields no further information. Worse still, clicking on a thumbnail (perhaps in hope of artist information), just takes you to the station and starts playing. Annoying, but a minor point overall.

Once you find a station that seems nice, just click Play, and go back to whatever it is you were doing before. The right music will effortlessly fill the room (or your ear buds, as the case may be):

songza app

Described in detail, the Concierge process may seem lengthy; it really isn’t. It usually takes me about 15 seconds between the time I go on Songza and the first song starts to play – and it’s almost always a song that’s right for the moment.

There’s More to Songza

This isn’t an exhaustive review of Songza, because a part of the fun is about exploring the service on your own. As you can see above, you can navigate playlists – something I haven’t gone into at all.

It does, however, showcase Songza’s crowning feature – the Concierge. To me, that’s the real reason to use the service. That, and the lack of audio ads, make it better than Pandora, at least to me.

What about you? What do you use to stream music? Did you try out the Concierge? Let me know below!

  1. mark dunn
    March 31, 2013 at 1:42 am

    i love songza because no ads but i can hear the songs over and over again if i miss the song that is currently playing

  2. Gary Mundy
    March 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    try them all to find the one that fits best.

  3. Richard Borkovec
    March 17, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I love Songza! Been using it for about a year now. Never had a problem with it :)

  4. Gustavspeed
    March 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Not so hot if you want to listen to classical music or opera

  5. Cik Amai
    March 16, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Too many streaming music nowadays. Spotify FTW

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