Music-streaming service Songza has added a premium option for listeners who want it.
Dubbed Club Songza, it offers ad-free listening and twice as many song-skips (12 instead of 6) for 99 cents per week.
Wait a second -- ads? What ads? I've never heard so much as a single commercial while listening to Songza on my iPhone or PC. However, I did notice that the app now forces you to "interact" with an onscreen ad (usually by typing in a word) before you can start listening, which is kind of a hassle.
On the other hand, with that done, you're good for a full 24 hours of uninterrupted play. That's still pretty generous, especially compared with the likes of Pandora and Slacker, which play a commercial after every handful of songs.
But if you don't like that ad requirement and do like to skip more often, Club Songza gives you the option. It's interesting that the company is pitching it with a weekly (rather than monthly or annual) rate -- "cheaper than a soda!", according to the e-mail I received. That's true, but it also works out to $4 monthly, same as what you'd pay for Pandora One or Slacker Radio Plus. (Actually, it's a little more: 99 cents per week equals $51.48 per year, versus $3.99 per month, which totals $47.88 per year.)
For the moment, Club Songza doesn't seem like much of a value, but the aforementioned e-mail notes that your subscription includes "an ad-free experience with no visual ads and no commercial interruptions." Translation: commercial interruptions are probably coming for listeners who don't subscribe.
I'm on record as calling Songza, and it's still my go-to choice when I want to discover new artists and play songs based on what I'm doing. I suppose the free-music gravy train had to pull into the station sometime, but we'll have to see if ads start spoiling the experience. For now, I don't anticipate joining the Club, mostly because I'm cheap. Your thoughts?