Just almost a week ago (8Nov2007), debut to the world after round of private beta, and like honey to bee, immediately attract music lovers that looking for a better way to listen to popular music quickly and reliably.
So what exactly is Songza ? What better way to describe Songza than to perceive it as Google for YouTube Music, as the interface mimic the famous minimal Search look. Unlike Google Search though, Songza is a free Web2.0 music site leveraging AJAX in any possible way. For example, the search list area is updated without the whole page refresh.
Apart from that, Songza is much its own as it doesn’t serve advertisement, and include built-in audio player(embeddable) and playlist (kind of useless currently, non-embeddable) feature. Indeed, Songza strictly adhere to the philosophy of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) in overall design, hence making it straight-forward to use. The service doesn’t even need user registration at all (It can be a issue though, see Improvement section). It doesn’t even pretend to be anything else.
Songza is one of those useful idea that one wonder why he hasn’t think of it in the first place. It is original and innovative, and most importantly, useful and addictive.
The basic use of this simplified tool is to search for song in Youtube and then a present a list of song result which can be directly play-back, add to playlist, or be embedded. The song can be voted (though I’m not sure how it is it been used) and its URL link can also be email.
To see how the embeddable player look like, go to Geezer site
Hang on, doesn’t YouTube serve video only ? Yes, it still do, however Songza has ingeniously and transparently extract the audio portion from YouTube video so that it play back the audio instead of video. On top of that, Songza return the exact result as though searching in YouTube, and it look like only those files that belonging to Music type under the Video Category (YouTube) are been searched. It is amazing that all this is accomplished by making use of YouTube API and is done in real-time. Searching for audio is very fast , and streaming the audio is fast too that I thought somekind of audio caching is done by the backend.
Why YouTube Music ?
There are several ways to stream audio legally, and the most common way is to partner with music company to license the song, and pay them either though revenue sharing, advertising or per song basis etc. Still, licensing does not cover all songs, and many popular songs are excluded in the collection much to the dismay of many avid listeners.
Another way is to tap on other services for content and extract out what is needed. This is exactly what Songza is doing and is a perfectly well-thought implementation as it circumvent song licensing from music company, and yet at same time leverage on the enormous resources from Youtube to stream music legally and indirectly through YouTube API.
Oddly, YouTube contains many popular video songs that is intentionally lacking in many audio streaming service like those song from concert performance and marketable, commercializable songs. This is one reasons why tapping on YouTube make sense. Most popular songs are simply found in YouTube than in other audio streaming service. Period.
Despite the quality of audio from video maybe degraded comparing to original digital encoded audio, the difference is almost undetectable upon listening.
Sometimes, stripping the video portion and just using the audio for embedding make perfect sense if one doesn’t want to show existing irrelevant/inappropriate video.
Still like any other audio streaming service, the music playback can be choppy if the traffic is overwhelming.
Still, there are areas that I like to see improvement. I presume the playlist function is still under development. The playlist feature is just impractical because although the song can be added, the playlist cannot be saved since there is no user registration at all ! How this feature can be useful at all fathom me. I’m sure Songza will add the user playlist and embedding of playlist in future release. Embedded Playlist is very useful because it is more memory efficient to store the songs and the page tend to load faster, compare to many embedded audio players in a page. Moreover, playlist will automatically play the next song.
The embedded audio player also need to strip its size. It occupies too much space and given that its function is minimal, it should be compact.
Overall, the experience is very positive and I did not face any major problem. For those who want a quick way to playback music without fuss should really give Songza a try.
Type: YouTube Music Search/Playback