October 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Songza Brings Legions of Free, Specific Playlists to Smartphones, Web

songzaAre you throwing a barbecue? Do you want to upset your parents? Are you desperately seeking “dance music that’s not assaultive?”

The free Songza app for iPhone, Android and the web might have the answer.

“We have playlists for everything, and we make it ridiculously easy to find the playlists that you’re looking for,” said Songza’s Eric Davich at the NYC MusicTechnology Meetup earlier this week. “We’re 100 percent free — there are no audio ads or listening limits — and what we do is act like a music concierge. We have expertly-curated playlists and we also have social curation.”

(See more Red-Hot Music Apps from the NYC MusicTechnology Meetup.)

Songza lets you search its collection of playlists for specific artists or by name — or you can browse the Discover section, which includes Genres, Moods, Decade, Culture, Record Store Clerk, Just For You (derived from your ratings and what your Songza friends have listened to), and Activity. The playlists are mostly created by Songza staff, although they also accept contributions from “critics and musicians,” and approve user-submitted playlists.

songza record store clerkActivity and Record Store Clerk are particularly interesting due to their granularity. The former features playlists for coding, throwing a cocktail party, shopping at a vintage store, barbecuing, driving at night, and so on, while the latter includes the examples mentioned at the top of this article and more.

When you find a playlist you like, you can save it to favorites, or classify it as music for work or for home, and you’ll never encounter an audio or video ad on any of the platforms, at this point anyway, although the service does include display ads.

However, Songza lacks a caching feature, so you’ll need an internet connection in order to listen, and if you’re using a smartphone, it helps to have access to WiFi or an unlimited wireless data plan.

In addition, the mobile apps don’t let you create playlists, although you can request them. Meanwhile, on the website, you can contribute a playlist (although you can’t import one from anywhere else) – but cannot listen to that playlist, due to licensing restrictions.

To discover similar music in the future, you can also follow the person who made a given playlist within Songza — no Twitter or Facebook required — although both networks can be enabled for sharing if you want. (Songza was one of 16 Facebook music launch partners.)