How we access and listen to music has changed over the last decade or so, where we now can not only listen to MP3s on our mobile devices, but we can also stream from large online catalogs of albums and songs from sites like Rdio and Spotify, and several free online radio stations.
While true music lovers will always want to build their own collection of most liked songs and albums (as I describe in the beginner’s guide to set up your digital music) there are still music apps like Songza(Free) for the iPhone that provide yet another way to access and listen to music. Songza is a streaming music app that contains thousands of original playlists based upon your mood, what you’re actively doing, and/or the type of music you like listen to. Songza is particularly useful for people with a broad taste in music. We have added it to our Best of iPhone Apps list.
How It Works
Songza acts as your personal concierge or DJ, in which it serves up a collection of playlists based on the date and time you’re using the App, followed by the type of activity you’re engaged in, or the type of music you want to listen to.
For example, as I write this article, it is Thursday, Late Morning, and I choose a playlist of songs for “Boosting Your Energy”. Songza says it will play some energetic music, based on a genre I choose: e.g., “Powerful Funk & Soul,” “’90s Pump Up,” “Prince vs. Michael: the Dance Off,” or “Party Rap Throwbacks.”
After I select my desired genre, Songza delivers up to three different playlists titled, “Motown Dance Party: The ’70s,” ”Stax Attack,” and “Have Some Soul,” and ”Daddy-O!”.
Songza has, of course, a built-in music player, and album cover art accompanies each song in the playlist. Tapping the “i” info button gives you a brief description of the playlist, followed by a collection of similar playlists. You can share links to playlists on Twitter, Facebook, and via email.
Other Ways to Explore
If Songza doesn’t deliver what you like based on your mood and activity, you can simply tap the Explore button and search for playlists based on Genres, Activities, Moods, Decades, Culture, or Record-store Clerk. These types of lists go well beyond iTune’s iMixes feature and abilities.
For me, a jazz listener, Songza contains a pretty broad range of jazz types to listen to, including “The Jazzmasters,” “Mellow Jazz,” “Essential Jazz,” “Latin Jazz,” “Cocktail Party Jazz,” “New Orleans Jazz,” etc. The Activities list is also very broad, ranging from Barbecuing, City Cruising, Driving In the Left Lane, Skateboarding, to Yoga.
Songza says that all of its large library of playlists are original and “handmade by music experts.” It’s amazing to see the collections of curated lists, based on moods like Aggressive, Brooding, Mellow, Trashy, Trippy, and Warm. There are also lists of Featured, Trending, and All-Time favorites you can select from. These lists offer up a wide range of popular music based on titles like “Coffee Shop Indie,” “Up All Night,” and “Rock & Roll Road Trip.”
Songza also includes playlists from iTunes Top Songs list, Today’s Pop Hits, Today’s Country Hits, etc. And of course you can purchase songs via the iTunes Music Store from within the app.
You can explore playlists as you listen to music, as well as listen to songs in the background as you navigate to other applications. All of your playlists are added to your Recent list, and you can select lists to be added to your Favorites.
In the settings of the Songza app, you can set Sleep Timer, switch to Clock View (temporally removed in the last version of the app pending approval from Apple), as well as select High-Quality audio based on the type of headphones or audio output you’re using. Songza can also be sent to Apple TV.
Songza is a free app, with a banner ad showing up in the app’s music player. It is one of several alternative iPhone music apps that helps you discover new music and playlists. It was on the App Store Best list for 2012. It also available for the iPad. Let us know what you think of Songza. Will you add it to your iPhone collection?