Songza updates features and adds Songkick partnership

Friday, November 15, 2013 - 12:05pm

Streaming music service Songza updated its personalization features in a new iOS app which dropped into the Apple app store this week. Users can now see a list of their thumbs-up song votes, and play them as a playlist.

That might not seem like a big deal, but it is for Songza addicts. The update notes indicate that this feature was much requested, which is understandable. Songza does have a star system for marking favorites, but it applies to songza “concierge” playlists, not tracks. Most services that use thumb-up and thumb-down votes use those indicators to personalize the song recommendations over time, so the platform gets smarter about your taste. Songza does that, too … but now also gives the user a collection of favorite songs for on-demand playing.

On another note, Songza has reportedly inked a partnership with Songkick, the tour-info service. Songkick recently built a concert scheduling app for the Spotify system, and is making inroads to furnish live-concert info that enhances Internet radio listening.

Spotify adds Songkick tour info

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 11:50am

Songkick, which identifies music tour stops by city, has joined Spotify’s app ecosystem. The concert tracking service can be accessed in Spotify’s desktop program.

Songkick hooks into the user’s Spotify music collection to recognize bands and artists of interest. It starts with that basic information to deliver immediate concerts and club dates in your home town. Everything is configurable; you can add cities and change your artist lineup. In the latter case, the app pulls you into Songkick proper makes you register there, so your Spotify settings don’t get altered by your Songkick preferences.

When Songkick suggests a concert, the information panel includes the venue name (obviously), a map, and a track list of the artist/band for instant listening. There is also a planning tool to keep your concert-going life organized.

We like this integration. It’s a perfect enhancement of Spotify’s native knowledge of your music taste. There are several other tour sites, but plugging that intelligence layer into your subscription music collection is an elegant convenience.

While prohibitive licensing keeps Europe off-limits for most U.S. webcasters, it's a different story for on-demand start-ups

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 1:05pm

Former Live365 exec Rags Gupta suggests the reason we see on-demand music services starting-up in Europe (and not, say, Silicon Valley) is that it's simply easier to license the content there than in the U.S. As such, "investors in Europe aren’t as jaded when it comes to music startups as their U.S. counterparts," writes Gupta. "Index Ventures stands out in this regard. Bolstered by their success with, they’ve added Songkick, SoundCloud, and RJDJ to their portfolio in recent years."

This apparent hospitality towards on-demand start-ups doesn't translate to Internet radio, unfortunately. Fragmented licensing regimes from country to country make it a virtually impossibly expensive and complex matter to license music separately for every country. This means many U.S. webcasters (e.g. Pandora) simply don't make their streams accessible outside the United States. (purchased by CBS for $280 million) and Spotify (now with more than 2 million paying customers across the 8 countries in which it's available) are two obvious examples of music start-ups coming out of Europe. Another is French-based Deezer.

"The minute that I tell the major music labels that I am not interested in signing for rights to the U.S., the negotiations over terms become much, much easier," Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez recently told Reuters. The company apparently has no plans to launch in the United States. 

Read Gupta's piece in GigaOm here.

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