This is Google's Inexpensive Answer to Apple's Beats Music

Google just announced the acquisition of Songza. Here's what music enthusiasts and investors need to know.

Jul 3, 2014 at 10:15AM

Google stock, Apple stock, Pandora, Songza

Google is acquiring streaming music specialist Songza, Credit: Songza

Listen up, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) shareholders, because your favorite tech giant's musical talents are about to sound much more interesting.

On Tuesday, Google announced that it has acquired music curation and streaming specialist Songza. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but this supports a New York Post report last month that cited one source as stating that Google's Larry Page was in talks to gobble up Songza for a modest $15 million. Then again, the same report also quoted a second source as saying "the figure on the table was much higher and that Page would have to beat out several suitors."

Was that figure more than 30 times higher? Because that's how much the bidding would have had to climb from $15 million to match the nearly $500 million Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) paid for music streaming service Beats Music as part of the $3 billion buyout of Beats Electronics just over a month ago. 

To be sure, price seemed of little consequence to Apple for the perceived perfection of Beats Music. Apple CEO Tim Cook called the deal a "no-brainer," and added, "We love the subscription service that they built -- we think it's the first one that really got it right."

Something tells me Songza's estimated 5.5 million active users would disagree. Rather than rely on music industry experts to curate content, as Beats does, Songza built a slick, easy-to-use interface to find the perfect music for listeners based on the time and their activities, moods, favorite genres, and time periods. For example, here's what I was greeted with upon opening Songza early yesterday evening:

Google stock, Apple stock, Pandora, Songza

Google will likely incorporate Songza's unique curation techniques into its Music All Access offering, Source: Author screenshot/Songza.

This would seem the most likely functionality to be integrated by Google into its own Google Play Music products. Though Google's music offerings do feature station customization and personalized recommendations, its curation techniques don't exactly distinguish it from the competition.

Apple now has Beats Music, which notably comes with the benefit of deep-rooted music industry experience. And Pandora (NYSE:P) built up a massive head start over the past 14 years (now sporting more than 75 million active listeners) by following a single self-professed mission: "To play only music you'll love." Then again, Apple and Google are developing their own music streaming services, while Pandora is striving against the difficult economics of its own business with the end goal of achieving sustained profitability.

Keeping Pandora in mind, this is the beauty of Google's latest acquisition: Songza's 5.5 million users are fairly impressive for a 6-year-old company entering an already crowded space, but it probably wasn't a profit- and revenue-generating machine that could command an exorbitant premium for its business. Rather, Songza is still small in the grand scheme of things, and -- contrary to Apple's decision to maintain Beats' brand as it moves forward -- Google should have little trouble assimilating and improving the new acquisition's most useful curation technology into its own music services.

Will selling out to Google upset some of Songza's biggest fans? Probably. For many, it might be like watching in horror as their favorite undiscovered band goes mainstream. For now, though, Google has said there are no plans to immediately change Songza, so it'll continue to work as usual for existing users.

But Google also said that in coming months it would explore ways to translate the best features of Songza to Google Play Music, and also will "look for opportunities to bring their great work to the music experience on YouTube and other Google products." When that happens, and assuming Google indeed kept the acquisition price relatively reasonable, its seems fair to say Songza will prove money well spent.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Steve Symington owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Pandora Media. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Pandora Media. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers