Five o'clock. Quitting time. I'm stressed after a long day of writing. I want to unwind to some mellow tunes, maybe a little acoustic guitar.
Six a.m. Time to hit the treadmill. I need a playlist that'll get my blood pumping and my feet moving. Maybe some progressive house music courtesy of dance community Beatport.
Sunday afternoon by the pool. Let's face it, nothing beats the latest pop hits from the likes of Adele, Katy Perry, and Hot Chelle Rae.
I could build playlists for all these situations, but who's got time for that? What I need is a music concierge, someone who can put together a playlist based on any given activity: exercising, chilling out, working, and so on.
That's Songza (Android | iOS) in a nutshell. First previewed back in April, my new favorite app works like Pandora in that it streams music based on my personal preferences, but focuses on situations rather than individual songs and artists. And it's not only free, but also commercial-free. (Sorry, Pandora! I love you, I really do.)
Songza really is like your own personal music concierge. Based on the day of the week and time of day, it offers up six likely scenarios for what you're doing. For example, here on Monday evening, it asks if I want to play music for Evening Commute, Working Out, Unwinding After a Long Day, Cooking, and so on.
If I choose, say, Eating Dinner, I'm then presented with up to six genres, including Cool New Music, Acoustic & Folk, and Golden Oldies. Finally, I pick from one of three playlists. In the case of Golden Oldies, my choices are Classic Girl Groups, Doo-Wop, and Smooth Rockabilly.
Once you've drilled all the way down, you'll get a detailed description of the playlist, including some of the artists it contains, and a Play button. Music time!
You can add any selected playlist to your list of favorites for easy access later on (i.e. you don't have to repeat the concierge process). And when a song is playing, you can share it via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail, or find it/buy it on iTunes.
Songza gives you other ways to discover music as well, including a Popular tab where you can browse featured, trending, and all-time-favorites lists. Among the choices: Songs From Apple Commercials, Mad Men Unbuttoned, and Bonnaroo 2012.
Meanwhile, the Explore tab lets you sift through genres, activities, moods, decades, culture, and more. There's even a sleep-timer feature, which was added to the just-released 2.50 version (for iOS, which is the version I tested -- it's also available for Android).
In a nutshell, Songza rocks. Is it the "best music app ever"? I definitely hold it in the same regard as my longtime favorites, Pandora, Slacker, and TuneIn Radio.