Songza 2Whenever I’m having a get together at my house, be it barbeques or board games, I’m always thinking up playlists for my guests. Sometimes, there is such an eclectic mix of friends around that I have a hard time deciding which genre to pull from, or which mood-setting music to use.

Songza is a universal app that takes the work out of playlists by offering streaming music for your device based on types, moods, genres, activities, or whatever sparks your listening desire at that moment. The app’s developer recently updated it with a cleaner user interface, manual Concierge service, and better audio performance…

Design

One of the new features of Songza’s version 3.0 update is full screen support for the iPhone 5. However, that is not the only visual upgrade the app gets. The user interface has been cleaned up to offer a clutter-free experience. The app also now features more simplified navigation and easy-to-find features to help facilitate fast and fun music streaming.

Users either sign in with Facebook or by creating a Songza account. Once logged in, you can start listening to music immediately. The main page is the Concierge. Under the Concierge page, you can choose from six basic categories. Depending on the time of day, the categories will change. For example, in the morning, categories included Driving, Doing Housework, and Working Out. In the afternoon, the categories switched to Getting Fired Up, Boosting your Energy, and Working at the Office.

Tap the menu tab in the upper left corner of the screen to see other ways to listen to music. Categories include Activities, Moods, Genres, and Decades. Each category includes subcategories to further pinpoint your music-listening needs. For example, under the Moods category, you can choose from Aggressive, Gloomy, Mello, and a whole lot more.

Under each subcategory, there is a collection of playlists with titles, descriptions, and a list of bands or musicians that are represented in the playlist. For example, if you choose Trashy under the Moods category, there are 14 playlists ranging from British punk to Riot Grrrl, plus a few playlists to help you out with your pole-dancing training.

You can also search for a playlist based on music by a specific artist. For example, if you search for T-Rex, you’ll see a list of playlists that feature the glam rock band. Pick the playlist that works best for your mood and you’ll be ready to go.

Songza 3

App Use

This app is great for listening to music when you are in a certain mood, but don’t know exactly what you want to hear. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve stared at my record collection, trying to decide what to listen to. Maybe I’m in the mood for something fast and metal, but I don’t feel like listening to Slayer. Maybe I’m feeling sick and want to relax to mellow sounds, but I’ve already listened to The Decemberists. Songza is the perfect app for those moments of musical indecision.

If you are in a particular mood, find a playlist to fit your feelings. If you are getting high, find the right playlist under the Activities category (I’m not joking. There is a subcategory for “getting high”). If you are reminiscing about your youth, listen to music from years gone by in the Decades category. You can listen to playlists for music dating all the way back to the 1930s. If you are more in-tuned to a specific music style, select something from the Genre category. Genres range from Christian Gospel to Underground Rap.

If you search for a specific band or artist, you will see a catalog of playlists that feature the name you searched. For example, I typed in France Gall, the name of a French pop singer from the 1960s, and it generated playlists of “60s French Pop,” “1960s Girls Around the World,” “Vintage Cocktail Party” and more.

My favorite feature of this app is the Concierge. This is where playlists are created based on real, identifiable activities that we do every day. For example, there is a category for Working in an office, Cleaning House, and Playing Video Games. Every day of the week has a different set of categories and there are six times of the day when categories change, including morning, late morning, afternoon, evening, night, and late night.

When you select a playlist, you can add it to your favorites, share a link to it on Facebook and Twitter, or send it directly to someone through email. You can also buy the album of the current song directly from iTunes. If you don’t like a song, you can give it a thumbs-down and skip it.

The best part of the Concierge came with the version 3.0 update. If you shake your device when in the Concierge window, you can type in any activity to generate playlists to accommodate you.

Of course, the first thing I had to check was just how comprehensive this service was, so I typed in “pooping” and, believe it or not, a playlist came up. It doesn’t work for every single activity. I also tried to find a playlist for “Making dinner” and nothing came up. However, there is a category for cooking.

With the shake of an iPhone you can find a playlist for practically everything you do, everyday.

Songza 1

The Good

I usually have a difficult time with music discovery app because they focus on top 40 hits and popular bands. My musical taste tends to be a bit more specific and I end up deleting most music discovery apps because there just isn’t enough variety. With Songza, I was able to find 1960s French Pop, 1980s thrash metal, and even K-Pop. The Concierge is the best part of this app. If you don’t know what type of music you want to listen to, tell the app what you are doing and let it find a playlist for you.

The Bad

For the most part, this app is nearly perfect. However, I would be remiss not to mention that I had one Internet-related drop out of audio. That being said, I listened to Songza for four hours with only one issue.

Value

At the price of free, you’re getting your money’s worth. You don’t have to subscribe to a paid service. You can listen to it over Wi-Fi or data streaming, although you should be careful about using up too much data if you don’t have an unlimited plan. This is a great app for streaming music for just about any occasion. Connect your iPhone to an external speaker and you’ll be ready to go.

Conclusion

Songza is a fantastic music listening app that should be on everyone’s device. There are thousands of playlists created specifically for your daily needs. If you don’t know what you want to listen to, but you know you want to hear some music, nothing beats the Concierge feature. Download it for free in the App Store today.

  • Felix Brolleus

    Amazing app!
    I really love the whole concept of making playlist and not being able to go back a song 🙂 Makes the songs more worth the play in some way…

    I live in Sweden so I had to use my secondary account (That’s registered to the American iTunes Store).

    But I can confirm that this app works outside the US and A as long as you’re able to download it.

    Thanks for the heads up and the review^^

  • Its freeeee

  • Only for US?!

  • Tony Klapatch

    Pretty good, been using it for awhile.

  • great concept, but “driving” or “cleaning” is too vague – people listen to all sorts of stuff during those events. They should cater more to emotions. I’ve tried it and the music wasn’t to my liking – not the app’s fault, it has no idea what I prefer.

    • lorygil

      You could try the “moods” category and pick a playlist from what ever mood you are feeling. Also: send a message to the devs. They may create a new “Driving moods” section based on your recommendation.

      • True, but even within a genre, say, country or folk or rap, there’s so much variation ie – I don’t know anyone who likes EVERY rock song, every jazz song, etc. so even if it catered to a certain “type” of music, it still wouldn’t be accurate (this is the problem I found with pandora etc – they just aren’t good even when picking a station to play).

  • Gorgonphone

    Pandora needs to buy this technology and add it to pandora app….

    • lorygil

      Or, you could just stop using Pandora and use Songza instead. 😉

      • Gorgonphone

        Nah cause pandora is better and i can down load every song from it for free.. 🙂

      • iTunes match is better than Pandora, Songza, Spotify, Grooveshark and any other music services all that is missing is actual streaming of music (rather than your own music library) which is supposedly coming in the form of an iRadio…

      • TuneIn is overall still the best thing ever 🙂

      • Can’t argue with that

      • lorygil

        Maybe I should check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • same concept as 8track app