Trevor’s Take: Songza
By: Trevor Acy
Since writing the post on the sleek online radio Pandora, Clif and I have decided to start a review series of online music applications. Next on the chopping block is the internet jukebox Songza. Again, I will provide my opinion on how the site operates and a quick tutorial of how to get your account up and running.
Songza is a free, flash based, internet jukebox. You decide exactly what songs you want to listen to and then stream the songs from other sites where they are embedded using a minimalist flash player. No costs, no ads, just the music you want to hear. At first you might be a bit discouraged that this is the only pseudo-FAQ that Songza has to offer. However, you will soon realize that it is so simple that it doesn’t really need one. Like many of the items featured on this site, Songza only does one thing, but does it extraordinarily well.
After creating an account (just your basic set-up with e-mail, password, etc) you will see the incredibly simple front page. Using the one outstanding feature, the large centrally located search bar, enter an artist or song and click search. Songza’s cute little loading square will flip around for just a moment and then an extensive list of songs will appear down the left hand side. One thing that I really like about Songza is this right here. You are not given one choice for the song you are trying to find; you are given a whole bunch. Aside from the album version, some may be live versions, acoustics sets, or remixes. In fact, I have already discovered a multitude of covers of songs I have searched for that I may otherwise never have been aware existed. So while you have to actively search out individual songs (that’s why it is a jukebox and not a radio) you still may find new songs.
The interface is one of the easiest imaginable to navigate. After searching for a song and selecting one from the list, clicking on the title will pop up a little compass inspired menu with four options: Play, Share, Rate, and Add to Playlist. Subsequently selecting one of these does exactly what you think they would do. The Share option allows you to link to the song, embed it on a site, send to Twitter, or email to a friend. Rating is used for rating the quality of the recording more so than if whether or not you like the song, like with Pandora. The better the quality rating, the higher that specific song appears in search lists. Rating effectively reduces the amount of time you spend trudging through versions that are of poor quality.
The Playlist is where you will find my only complaint with Songza. Right now, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but I can find no way of creating additional playlists. So while you can save every song you find, they are all lumped together under a single playlist. The small saving grace of this is that you can quickly and easily change the order or your playlist. So you can group your music as you would want to hear it in succession. Aside from sharing individual songs with friends, you can also navigate to someone’s Songza profile page and access their full playlist from there. You can check out my profile and playlist here.
One of the really nifty things about Songza is while a song is playing you have the ability to Watch the Video when it is available, Buy the Song via Google Products or Amazon, or check out the Discography. It should be said that the video sometimes seems like a randomly picked Youtube video, which isn’t always the artist’s actual music video. Viewer beware.
I’ve only just begun playing with Songza and haven’t delved too deeply into sharing and embedding songs. What I see so far I really like (aside from the Playlist issue which I am hoping I am incorrect about). So if recommendation music sites like Rhapsody and Pandora don’t line up with your tastes well enough or you’re just looking to hear “that song” right now, give Songza a try.
Be sure to leave a link to your Songza profile if you comment so we can all share the music. One Love.