Songza review: The best way yet to stream music on your iPhone

Songza for iPhone is a streaming music service that takes a different approach to discovering music than traditional apps such as Pandora. Songza comes complete with your own personal concierge. Just tell Songza what you're doing or what kind of mood you're in and you'll instantly be served with playlists curated by experts based on what you've specified.

Let's not forget that Songza also has the most beautiful and easy to use interface of any streaming service we've used thus far.

Upon launching Songza you'll be asked to either create a Songza account or log in with Facebook. After that you'll be taken directly to the concierge page. Here you can choose times of day and the activities your performing and you'll be given choices of playlists based on those activities. You can also auto-generate playlists based on your mood.

If you aren't one to listen to curated playlists without specifying at least an artist or genre that you like, you can do that as well. Searching for an artist will bring up playlists that contain tracks by them. Choosing a playlist will automatically start streaming it, typically starting off with the artist you specified. Just like other popular services such as Slacker, Pandora, and Spotify, you can vote songs up or down and add playlists to your favorites for easy access later.

While Songza doesn't seem to specify how large their music library is, they do seem to have a rather large collection with tracks spanning almost every genre I could think of. I listen to a lot of electronica and I've always had issues finding streaming services that actually have good selections outside of mainstream titles. I've found that Songza actually has a very good selection for electronica that allows me to discover new music and artists that I enjoy. And sometimes that's hard to do with more obscure genres. If you find a song you like and that you want to purchase, tapping on the shopping cart icon will instantly take you to that track in iTunes for purchase.

Another neat feature I really like about Songza is that high quality audio doesn't seem to be limited to just premium subscribers. You can actually customize it in settings to your exact model of headphones as well. There are lots of brands supported and I have no trouble finding the most common ones including manufacturers such as Bose, Harman/Kardon, iHome, JBL, Beats, Sennheiser, and more. You can also create playlists on the web version that other users can listen to. Due to licensing restrictions, you won't be able to listen to them yourself which is a bit of a letdown, but it is a way to add more value to the community.

As for a premium subscription to Songza (referred to as Club Songza), it'll cost you $0.99 a week so about $4 a month. With that you'll get no ads on the iPhone app as well as the web version. When it comes to song skips, you are limited and it seems to be about 10 tracks an hour or so.

The good

  • Drop dead gorgeous interface
  • High quality audio not limited to only paid subscribers
  • Decently priced for the quality and track selection, one weekly fee without the complicated pricing tiers to deal with
  • Concierge is an intriguing and unique feature that really makes Songza stand out
  • Buffer times even over cellular network are surprisingly quick, dare I say quicker than Pandora and Spotify

The bad

  • No custom curating playlists for yourself
  • No way to really search and just play individual songs, but playlists based on them are good enough for users that just want to find music and go

The bottom line

Songza is not only the most gorgeous music streaming app I've ever come across, it also works amazingly well. If you're looking for custom song searches and the ability to make your own playlists, Songza isn't for you and you'll be happier with a service like Spotify but be aware the price tag will be much higher for the privilege.

But if you're looking for a way to discover new music instead of simply streaming what you already know, Songza is a perfect option. The playlists are well put together and the iPhone app is a joy to use. If music discoverability is your number one desire, give Songza a try. You'll be glad you did.

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.