So, a P permabear comes out with an "uh-oh there may be another service that competes with Pandora" comment and everyone dives under the covers. Well, it's a volatile startup story stock (ahem, ZNGA?) so that's to be expected, but I sense lemming behavior. Here's why, after another 5% dive today, I have added to my position:
- The first thing I did was of course go to the Songza.com, and look for anything like a 'moat.' Nope, don't see one. There's nothing there that anyone else couldn't do. As a matter of fact, the manual expert curating is probably expensive.
- The Songza site didn't work very well, either on my PC, or my Android Global (which doesn't ever work very well either), or my Kindle. I clicked on the "advertise" link on the home page and it was dead. The "loading discovery" or something like that hung up on the Kindle and I had to power-cycle.
- OMG LOL my BFF's, do I want to see FB drivel (sorry, I mean social media marketing pap cleverly disguised as vox populi commenting) "listen to this it's the best EVER" "totally" when I look for stuff to listen to? Integrating Facebook and my music listening experience is a hellish concept.
- I asked some kids what they listen to Internet radio on. Spotify and Pandora, and they get stuff from iTunes. They had not heard of Songza. So I wondered - what would move them in a big way to abandon these choices and dedicate their ears to Songza at the expense of the others? I don't see it. There is no uniquely compelling experience on Songza that blows away its competition.
- Frankly I think Songza has it exactly WRONG - people LIKE putting together their playlists, they LIKE the artists they LIKE, and they aren't going to outsource their choices to curators. Constructing their own playlists is often their primary creative outlet with respect to music. And any site can socialize this activity - there's no magic to Songza here.
- What I think is "romantic" or "agressive" music is not (I'm pretty sure) what my kids think, so my feeling is that "music for moods" or "music for activities" canned playlists are doomed to fail.
- I tried to fall asleep last night to Songza playing, and it stopped dead after the third selection. Pandora always just works. Pandora played all nite, until I was awaked by an ad. Now I am going to pay up my "ad-free extortion tax" because I want my Pandora. Cha-ching Pandora.
- The CEO of songza is a 20-something who is in that blessed state of believing that being hip, cute, clever, and social is all you need. I prefer the veteran CEO with an MBA who has a track record. Of course, you point to Mark $uckerberg who invented social media - he made out fine, er, but how did his stock investors do?
- Songza has no competitive advantage in terms of cost structure, unless they have found a way to pay no royalties for streaming music.
- I am listening to songza right now, and for automatic listening its fine. But I'm paying my $ to P, buying more stock in P, and then will go dial in the stuff I really like. ... Oh, oops. Songza just stopped streaming dead. Dead air. -1. Bye.
Disclosure: I am long P.
Additional disclosure: Sometimes I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong. "Follow your own path."