Listen Up: Songza
If you’re like me, your iPod hasn’t seen a new song since 2006 and setting it to shuffle all of your songs is like playing Russian Roulette. The other day, I did this while cleaning my apartment and I suddenly had Sean Paul blaring. I rushed to change it, immediately imagining our somewhat bitchy downstairs neighbor passing judgement on me only to find the Thong Song (one of three versions that strangely exist in there), followed by some Audioslave song I (purposefully) haven’t heard in years. “She’s going to think I’m such a weirdo!!!“
It’s not that I have lost my love for quality music, it’s just that I don’t have a computer anymore, so I stopped downloading music. Luckily, apps like Pandora and Spotify came around and have totally remedied this situation. The problems: Pandora has annoying ads, is all needy asking if I’m still listening (“Are you still there? Hold me.”), and it plays the same 40 songs over and over again. Spotify isn’t helpful if you don’t have a computer and you have to pay for a subscription if you get the app. Not doing that right now. Not when I can hardly justify buying a sandwich.
Enter: Songza. A friend of mine suggested I give it a try when I complained on Facebook about Pandora (shout out to Natasha!) and that was the day I fell in love. Here’s the basics:
- No interrupting ads. None.
- Free. Totally free.
- Playlists based on your activity, mood, time of day, genre, trending hits, decade, you name it, they’ve thought of it.
On a Friday night, it might suggest playlists for Putting on a Party Dress, Pre-Gaming with Friends or Cooking with your Kids. It’s a cheeky app with a sense of humor, and it’s ridiculously user friendly. One of the selling points for me when I first tried it out was when I saw that it has clever playlists like “Getting Lucky”, “Shopping at a Vintage Store” and “Dirt Road Driving”. It will also suggest other playlists you might like based on your choices. It’s like they care.
Thanks to Songza, I discovered that the music I can’t get enough of right now is called “Electronic Indie-Psych” and I knew right away because the playlist title (“Time to Pretend”) referenced MGMT and then they ever-so-thoughtfully told me ahead of time that it includes bands like Yeasayer, of Montreal, Neon Indian and Crystal Castles. Yes, please.
Ok, I didn’t know who Neon Indian was, but I learned! I have found all sorts of new music that I like and I’m able to “thumbs up” songs so it remembers what I like (just like in Pandora.) You can save playlists you like so you can return to them (Turns out I like “Mainstream Indie” too. I’m not afraid to admit it.) and it saves the last 10 or so playlists you’ve listened to in case you forgot to bookmark one you particularly liked.
I’ve also gotten a lot of use out of the “Bedtime” playlists since I like to fall asleep to music from time to time. I mistakenly thought that little alarm clock in the top left of the screen was a sleep timer…it’s not. It is an alarm though, if you’re into waking up to music. It’s not that I’m not, but I’m the kind of (half-deaf, deep sleeping) person who needs to be jolted awake by a loud and somewhat annoying sound to have a chance at getting out of bed.
I hope you try it and I hope that like me, you realize what you’ve been missing and let Songza help introduce you to new music, remind you of old tunes you love and make decisions for you when you feel too damn lazy to do so yourself. Has anyone already fallen under the Songza spell? Let me know what you think!