Songza: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Streaming Playlists Again

I have to get this off my chest: I hate Pandora. And while Spotify may have stolen a lot of the popular music-streaming service's thunder, Pandora is still the third most downloaded free-music app for the iPhone. It's so beloved, in fact, that making fun of it feels like kicking a puppy. But between being force-fed ads and a song selection that constantly makes me think I'm listening to tunes that some record exec wants to me hear so he or she doesn't lose his job, I really think it sucks. (Anecdotal proof: My "Modest Mouse Radio" station just played something by a band called Coconut Records that sounds nothing like Modest Mouse and nothing like a song I'd ever listen to unless I was strapped to a chair, Clockwork Orange-style.)

But just when I thought I was done with the playlist-driven music app, I stumbled upon something called Songza. The first thing you'll notice about Songza is that the playlists aren't just linked to artists. Sure, you can stream a Jay-Z station on your way home from work, but it's a lot more fun to stream Today's Club Bangers, filed under the Evening Commute filter. See, with Songza, it's not just about the artists, it's about your mood and your activity. Working out, cooking dinner, getting lucky—there are soundtracks for all those undertakings, in whatever genre of music you're into. And let's face it: How you feel and what you're doing in the moment are what make you crave a certain song in the first place.

Did I mention it's free and there are no ads? This makes me happy. So happy that I select "Pre-Gaming With Friends" as my activity and "Kick-ass Indie Rock Style" as my genre, using Songza's menu options. Immediately, the Girls' track "Honey Bunny" starts playing. Funny, that's exactly what I was in the mood for.

—Greg Emmanuel, articles editor at Details

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Photo: Songza
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