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  • Google Follows Suit, Buys Online Music Service Songza 0 comments
    Jul 8, 2014 11:12 AM

    Google is amping up its music service with the acquisition of streaming music startup Songza following Apple's purchase of Beats Electronics. The deal's price tag was not officially disclosed.

    Google's latest move reflects the cut-throat competition to capture online music listeners, as more users opt to stream rather than own music.

    Amid the abundance of streaming music start-ups, Google is tapping Songza that focuses on context and suggests appropriate music for listeners, similar to free online radio Pandora.

    "We're moving to a time when context is king, when people don't have to find things," Songza Chief Executive Elias Roman said in a CNET News interview.

    Songza makes customized playlists inspired by current events, holidays or even by weather conditions. The music app has a partnership with the Weather Channel.

    While the music app has only a fraction of Spotify's 40-million active users, some experts believe that Google sees an edge in Songza's contextual curated playlists.

    "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," Forbes contributor Bobby Owsinski said on why Google bought Songza.

    The Mountain View, California-based search engine giant said there would be no immediate changes to Songza and they are looking to integrate it with other Google services.

    "Over the coming months, we'll explore ways to bring what you love about Songza to Google Play Music. We'll also look for opportunities to bring their great work to the music experience on YouTube and other Google products," the company said.

    The acquisition followed Apple's glitzy $3-billion purchase of Beats Electronics, which included the Beats Music service that was launched earlier this year. About a year ago, Apple announced iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service with over 200 stations. In June, Amazon launched Prime streaming music service with over one million songs.

    Outside the tight marketplace for streaming music service, more users are also trying out spoken word platforms such as Audioboo, a social media platform owned by the Audioboom Group PLC (BOOM.L).

    Audioboo, which started out with 19 channels, now has 2,000 channels including BBC, CBS and Sky Sports. It has 2.5 million subscribers and 13 million monthly active users.

    Users can use the app to upload and share music for the public to listen to - a bottom-up approach which is seen to be the next big thing among online services.

    Companies like BBC have also paid for their own channels, which allow branding customization and revenue-sharing options.

    Audiobo and similar platforms may soon be following the footsteps of Songza if spoken word does indeed become the next big thing.

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