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A few days ago we wrote about Last.fm’s new service and how nice it is that users can listen to music for free. There are a few limitations though, and one of them is that you can only listen to a song three times for free before being required to subscribe. Epiac1216 commented that he has been using a service called Songza, and what was so great about it was that there were no strings attached. Epiac said that he could “prepare my own playlist with the selected songs and they will be played in the order I chose.” This got me thinking about how there are all kinds of music services out there that some of you may not be aware of.  Today we’ll be taking a look at Songza, but we’re also asking you to fill us and everybody else in on the music service you use, and why you use it. This way everybody will have multiple options to choose from when they’re trying to find a way to listen to the music that they love online.

What is Songza?

songza On the Songza website, they describe themselves as “the music search engine & Internet jukebox” where you can listen. Now. It’s got a unique design and a color that makes it stand out. At first glance, it may appear that there’s not much to the service, however, looks are deceiving in this case.  It’s got an extremely clean interface and a clutter free design and so while it may look like nothing, there’s actually quite a bit of functionality there.

Where does it come from?

The site was designed and brought to life by Aza Raskin who happens to be the son of Jeff Raskin, the Apple Macintosh co-founder. On the Songza about page, they say that “Like all good ideas, both the concept and design came to Aza while he was in the shower.”

Searching for music

Did I mention that they make awesome use of Ajax? Well, they do. Performing a search is so quick and easy, thanks in part to the Ajax.  On the homepage there is a nice big search box where you can enter a specific song or an artist that you’re wanting to hear. I did a search for “Daughtry” and it pulled up a whole list of songs pretty quickly. And because of the Ajax, the page didn’t have to completely re-load.

songza 1

Clicking on one of the results will pull up a menu so that you can play a song, share it, rate it, or add it to a playlist. Once you click to play a song, you’ll get links to “watch video” (it’ll be a YouTube video for the song) or buy the song via Amazon.

Sharing with others

If you find a song that you’d like to share with others, you have a few ways to do this.  That menu I mentioned above will give you all of your options for sharing.  They include embedding it into your blog, a Facebook or MySpace account, or other web sites.  You can also get a direct link to the song, or email it to a friend. Embedding a player into your own site is simple. It’s a Flash player too, which is nice.

Another social aspect to this site is that you can vote a song up or down. In the pop-up menu that you’ll see when clicking on a song, there’s an option that says “rate.” It asks “is this a good recording” and then you can click a simple yes or no.

songza 3

What it’s not

If you’re looking for a music discovery service, this isn’t it.  It’s not going to tell you what you might like, instead it simply plays the songs that you search for that you want to hear.  Additionally, this is NOT a music download service. You go to Songza simply to listen. Songza is simply about  helping you find and then playing the music that you want to listen to.

Which music service do you use?

Songza has quickly moved to the top on my list of favorite online music services out there. There are so many different services out there though, so we’re wondering, which service do you use online? Pandora? Last.fm? XM Radio or Sirius Radio?

Source: Thanks Omar for mentioning this in the comments!

There Are 18 Comments

  1. About time that you do a review about this. Songza is awesome. It’s interface, IMHO, is almost dumb proof.

  2. Wow this is cool, I really liking the site, thanks. :twisted:

  3. One thing you overlooked about Songnza is that the service is nothing more than a pretty frontend for YouTube. The list of songs are pulled directly from videos uploaded to YouTube, and uses its API to stream the songs, I guess the tags are used to not provide the sound of videos that don’t have anything to do with music. That’s why they provide a link to the videos, and you can get really rare music not present in most services.

    That said, I really doubt about the whole legality of the system, although giving that’s it’s only streaming I’d say it’s not a big deal. The bigger problem is the awful quality you can get from some songs, that it’s a major drawback compared to Last.FM’s new system (or the even the older one).

    As for the question, I use Last.FM, for being free, accessible in my country (unlike Pandora), and being helpful for discovering new music. I’m still using the old system, so that means my choices are restricted to groups alike to the one I typed in the search box, but I don’t mind. I occasionally use Mercora as well, but it’s not as good as it could be.

  4. @Ashley:

    Another musical site which I used to listen before they restricted it to users outside the U.S. is Slacker. It only works in the United States. There are so many nice things that I can say about this place it would take a long comment.

    I encourage you to give it a shot and comment on your findings. I enjoy streaming music from the Internet, since there are not many high quality radio stations in Panama.

    The URL for Slacker is: [slacker.com]

    Best Regards,

    Omar.-

  5. Slacker radio rocks!
    [slacker.com]

  6. My personal favorite is deezer at [deezer.com.]

  7. @Mister Bliss-ster;

    Just tried Deezer but found it too complicated and cumbersome.

    Regards,

    Omar-

  8. Mohan wrote:
    Wow this is cool, I really liking the site, thanks. :twisted:

    Your welcome!

    epiac1216 wrote:
    @Ashley:

    Another musical site which I used to listen before they restricted it to users outside the U.S. is Slacker. It only works in the United States. There are so many nice things that I can say about this place it would take a long comment.

    I encourage you to give it a shot and comment on your findings. I enjoy streaming music from the Internet, since there are not many high quality radio stations in Panama.

    The URL for Slacker is: [slacker.com]

    Best Regards,

    Omar.-

    I’ll have to do that Omar, thanks for pointing it out.

    onlineapps wrote:
    So how legal is this one?

    Good question. I read somewhere (although I can’t remember where) that Songza probably has the YouTube legal team scrambling trying to determine what to do. As Lashiec mentioned, it’s essentially a nice looking front end for YouTube. I’m not sure if this is something that will be around for the long-haul so enjoy it while you can. :)

  9. Hmmm, it appears they’re expanding the search scope in light of those possible legal problems, and now they also use services like seeqpod and Skreemr, which appear clearly marked with their logos under the search box once you start playing a song, like I’m doing right now with Rush’s “YYZ” :)

  10. After some googling…

    [groups.google.com]

    [valleywag.com]

    Does BBCode works in the comments?

  11. Lashiec wrote:
    After some googling…

    [groups.google.com]

    [valleywag.com]

    And no, BBCode does not work in the comments.
    Does BBCode works in the comments?

    Huh, I’m surprised that if YouTube contacted them months ago and yet they still haven’t changed anything.

  12. Check out [IMEEM.COM.] Supposedly they have contracts with many music publishers so that the publishers/artists get paid when their songs are played. It’s a social site ala MySpace but the theme is media (music, videos, pictures). Users are allowed to upload media from their own collections and create playlists using any songs/video/pictures on the site.

    There have only been a few songs that I haven’t been able to find, but I have discovered some incredible videos (Hendrix, Marley, Doobie Bros, Neil Young, old 80s music videos etc.) that I have used to create video playlists — very enjoyable.

    It’s free to use with links to purchase songs like you’d like to own.

  13. yes songza is really just a frontend to youtube, which makes a frontend for finding music on a site not designed for sharing music.
    imeem.com on the other hand is “youtube for music”, you can upload mp3s of anything and anyone can listen, and the sound quality beats the pants off youtbue

  14. 8)This is a cool site

  15. Thanks for this. You mentioned “embed”, but I have found no instructions anywhere about how to embed your own songza radio station in your web site. Do you happen to have any info on this?

    • Songza has recently redone their site and isn’t the same as when we originally wrote about it. So some of the functionality may be missing.

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