I'm a paid subscriber to Spotify, which, for about ten bucks a month, gives me easy access to pretty much every song ever professionally published. (I say that so casually. When you think about it, being able to summon any song by anyone is seconds is pretty amazing.)
I'm also a big fan of Pandora, which creates a custom radio station based on an artist or song you supply. Create a Eurhythmics station, and you'll hear -- in addition to the occasional Eurhythmics song -- 80's hits with a similar sound: Human League, Stevie Nicks, Blondie. Enter a song title, like "Don't Stop Believin'," and you'll hear similar songs by Journey and other bands.
So: with every song ever written at my beck and call and streaming stations based on whatever musical taste I specify … why do I need Songza?
Because it's the first streaming music service that matches music to your moods, activities, and tastes.
Tell Songza's "Music Concierge" your mood -- aggressive, brooding, campy, classy, cold, earthy, happy, mellow, raw, seductive … you name it -- and Songza serves up playlists specifically programmed to match that mood (or help you achieve it). Today, as I buzzed around the house completing a few projects, I set Songza to "Energetic" and chose the Massive Pop Hits playlist. Soon, my Sonos was cranking out upbeat, uptempo club hits … and I had energy to spare.
But mood's just the first way to explore Songza's massive music library. Songza knows what time it is where you live, so it also serves up playlists based on the time of day. On Saturday afternoon, you'll see categories like Summertime, Relaxing at Home, Doing Housework, Cool Atmosphere, Sitting on a Back Porch, or Spending Time with the Kids.
Once I picked a pastime, Songza asked what genre I liked best: Relaxing Hits, Low-key Indie, Laid-back Acoustic, Mellow Reggae, or Mellow Electronic. Soon, I was chilling out with Royksopp's "Dead to the World" … a song I'd never heard before, and wouldn't have discovered otherwise.
In addition to exploring by mood and activity, you can search for playlists based on genres (and sub-genres, and sub-sub-genres … so if you're into Euro Hotel Lounge music, you're not left out), decades, cultures (cities, holidays, television shows, etc.), and the odd little Record Store Clerk, who can recommend anything from "Indie Music That's Not Too Weird" to "Music That Will Freak Out Your Parents."
Spotify doesn't make it easy to discover tracks you don't already know about, so when I'm there, I find myself listening to the same stuff again and again. Pandora does a pretty good job of picking music I'll like … but the ads can be really annoying. So Songza's won a place in my heart: it's a service with lots of music, interesting ways to discover new tunes, and no ads. Did I mention it's also free? Sweet.
Sign up, then drop me a line and let me know what you think. (A tip: the iPad and iPhone apps are more fun to use than the web site … so if you got 'em, use 'em.)