Science and Tech


Google Battles Beats, Buys Music Streaming Service Songza

Songza, a service which, like Beats, relies on contextual listening, could give Google a leg up in the streaming music wars.
Posted at 10:09 PM, Jul 01, 2014

Google plans to crank up the competition against Apple and Amazon with its new venture into the realm of online music streaming.

​The tech giant purchased Songza, a streaming service similar to Apple's newly-acquired Beats Music. Both services offer music tailored to the user's mood and what you're doing while listening.

That's in stark contrast to competitors Spotify and Amazon Prime Music, which both focus more on massive music catalogs and ad-free listening through paid subscriptions.

Neither Google or Songza have released a specific dollar amount for the purchase, but sources talking to The New York Post say it's in the ballpark of $35 million.

Whatever the amount, it was enough to make Songza Chief Executive Elias Roman understandably happy. (Via Twitter / @songza)

Roman told CNET his New York-based tech company believes the industry is gravitating toward contextual listening.

"We're moving to a time when context is king, when people don't have to find things. Technology is about to work a lot harder for us. It's a cool thing to be a small part of that."

So, why are these tech companies cramming the music streaming market? That's easy: Money.

​According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, online music subscription service revenues jumped 51 percent in 2013 and eclipsed $1 billion for the first time ever.

That boom coming in the same year digital music downloads — most notably from iTunes — went the opposite direction and dropped for first time. As for CDs? Wait, what's a CD? (Via Billboard)

Google says it will keep Songza pretty much the way it is — at least for now.

However, the tech giant told Mashable it plans to integrate the new service's features with Google Play Music and YouTube. A spokeperson said, "We view the Songza acquisition as a way to further enhance our radio feature by adding their expertise on context."

YouTube — which is owned by Google — is also expected to launch a music streaming service this Summer. So, Google will essentially be competing against itself along with the one, two, three, four... we can't keep track of 'um.