Curation is king


Curation is king

Last week, Google announced that it has acquired Songza, a small music streaming company based in Long Island, New York that provides users with expert-curated playlists. The terms of the deal were not disclosed but reports suggest that the purchase price was $39 million. The deal comes on the heels of Apple’s jaw-dropping $3 billion acquisition of Beats.

So why did Google buy Songza, which only has 5.5 million active users compared to Spotify’s 24 million and Pandora’s 77 million? The answer is curation. Unlike Spotify, Pandora and even Google itself that use algorithms to construct customized playlists, Songza’s playlists are curated by people, from professional musicians and DJs to regular music fans. Songza’s handpicked playlists are designed to match the user’s mood, interests, personality, time of day, and even the weather.

What’s most interesting about the acquisition is that Google acknowledges that its powerful machine learning algorithms still need to rely on humans after all, especially in the field as complicated and as emotional as music. The deal is a win for human curation.

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