Google buys Songza: How many music services does one company need?

Google announced Tuesday that it was buying the music streaming start-up Songza. The acquisition marks another example of the increasing dominance of streaming services in the world of digital music. 

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/File
A man walks past a Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

In another sign of the music industry's steady transition to streaming services, Google announced Tuesday it had purchased the free streaming service Songza. 

Google reportedly paid more than $39 million for the start-up, although neither Google nor Songza has commented on the price. 

Based in Long Island City, N.Y., the three-year old app Songza provides tailor-made playlists for different occasions, as opposed to the algorithmically generated playlists of services such as Pandora.

As of now, Songza users can rest assured that their experience with the service will stay the same for the time being. In a blog post, Google says, "We aren't planning any immediate changes to Songza, so it will continue to work like usual for existing users."

In a separate blog post, Songza echoed that user experience will not change, adding that "we can’t think of a better company to join in our quest to provide the perfect soundtrack for everything you do."

This acquisition comes shortly after tech giants such as Apple and Amazon have also gotten into the streaming business. In May, Apple bought Beats for $3 billion along with the company's trademark headphones and its curated streaming service. That's in addition to Apple's own iTunes Radio. More recently, Amazon released Prime Music, a free streaming service offering more than a million songs. 

The music-streaming business has accelerated at a rapid pace in recent years. In one example of streaming's dominance, Spotify announced in December that its users had streamed more than 4.5 billion hours of music in 2013, translating to roughly 38 minutes of music for each person on the planet. 

Recent months have seen a dip in sales for digital music downloads, while services such as Pandora and Spotify have only solidified their role as the go-to sources for online music, Reuters reports

Last year, Google launched its All Access music subscription service for $9.99 a month, available in the Google Play store and offering "unlimited listening to millions of songs." Google-owned YouTube is also in the process of developing subscription service. And Google will be looking for ways to incorporate Songza into its Google Play and YouTube music services, according to the company blog post. 

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