In a deal rumored for weeks, Google has finally acquired the music streaming service Songza for a reported $15 million. There appears to be no immediate plans to change the service, according to a post on the Songza site, except to “make it faster, smarter, and even more fun to use.”
But what’s the real reason behind the acquisition? Certainly Google has the cash to buy either Pandora or Spotify, market leaders in the radio-like non-interactive and on-demand categories of the music streaming market. The fact is that even though both of those services have the largest user bases in the sector, they actually bring little value in terms of what Google needs. The company’s Music Play All Access service doesn’t have the kind of subscriber numbers it wants, but that could be just a matter of time, considering that YouTube (which it owns) is the number one online source for music discovery and access already. And the company already has a large catalog of licensed songs, so a purchase with that in mind is redundant.
What Songza specializes in is music curation, a feature that Beats Music used as its primary lure in its purchase by Apple. While Google may be the king of the algorithm, it’s been proven time and again that computer generated playlists can’t come close to the musical taste of human. It’s been reported that Pandora’s Music Genome Project, which many contend is the heart of the service, is already 10 years in the making. Google has the resources to bump that timeline up, but the way the streaming market is heading, time is of the essence. Google needs a similar feature right now. Read more on Forbes.