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Google acquires music-streaming service Songza, a Pandora rival

Google plays catch-up in the music-streaming market by purchasing Songza, a Pandora rival
Songza asks users their mood or activity to determine which human-curated playlist the service should play

Google has acquired Songza, an Internet radio company, in an effort to keep up with Apple and Amazon in music streaming.

The Mountain View, Calif., company announced the purchase Tuesday afternoon, saying it would use Songza to improve its Google Play Music service and the music-listening experience on YouTube. Neither Google nor Songza disclosed details of the deal. 

Songza, available free with advertisements, works by asking users their mood or activity. That information is used to determine which human-curated playlist the service should play. Pandora determines the music it plays using algorithms. 

Last year, Google launched Google Play Music All Access, a service that gives users access to millions of songs for a monthly subscription price of $9.99. But the service has not caught on. Instead, the a la carte music-streaming market has been dominated by Spotify, which announced that it had more than 10 million paying subscribers this year. 

Apple made a big bet to combat Spotify in May by purchasing Beats Electronics for $3 billion. That deal included Beats Music, a rival to Spotify that also costs $9.99 a month. 

Amazon followed suit in June with the launch of Amazon Prime Music. Though its song catalog isn't as comprehensive as others in the space, Amazon Prime Music is bundled into Amazon Prime, which is available for $99 annually. Amazon Prime also includes access to the Seattle company's video streaming service and free two-day shipping on certain products from the online retailer. 

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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