As a child, Betabeat used to lovingly curate the A and B sides of a 60 minutes cassette tape for each of our gift-giving relatives on Christmas. Since then, the mix tape has evolved into an element of the socially networked cloud, where we drag and drop mixes for friends on Spotify with a single click.
But there are plenty of occasions when Betabeat is pressed for time and hoping to find the suite of songs that will add just the right feeling to the gathering. So we were intrigued by Songza, a Long Island City startup which opens to the public tonight with a mobile app, web site, and the promise of better playlist discovery and development.
Songza doesn’t ask users to start with their own collection. “You don’t upload, front load, or side load your own tracks,” says Songza co-founder and CEO Elias Roman. “We have fourteen million tracks in our collection, so we are a lot closer to Spotify than Pandora.”
Users can search for playlists by artist, genre, mood or even event. Typing in BBQ, for example, pulls up a dozen playlists geared towards country BBQ, reggae sunshine or classic rock-rager.
The real challenge for Songza will be differentiating itself from larger, better-funded streaming services like Spotify. “You can’t whip up an emergency Christmas mix in fifteen seconds on Spotify,” says Roman. But typing “Christmas mix” into Spotify does pull up Spanish X-mas, Rocking Christmas Times and many others.
The Songza team just closed a seven figure round of financing led by Deep Fork Capital, has more than 100,000 users from their private beta and already have a successful music service under their belt, having built the indie music market Amie Street while still at Brown.
There are already 75,000 playlists created by people on Songza, so hopefully the human touch will be what separates them from the pack.