A conversation with Songza's Elias Roman about the victory of man over machine

Many saw 2012 as the year music streaming became mainstream. One company in this space that seemingly came of out nowhere in 2012 was Songza, who by the end of the year had what I would estimate at over five million users in North America.

The reason for the company's growth? They relied on man rather than machine.

The company's Music Concierge app, released in March, utilized human curators to develop a series of mood-driven playlists which seemed to strike a chord with listeners who are tired of thumbing music up or down or having to create a playlist.

This is interesting to me because so much has been written in the past few years about about how algorithmic recommendation has eclipsed the traditional model of human driven music recommendation, and here we have a company like Songza which has thrived on human driven recommendation.

I caught up with the company's CEO, Elias Roman, on December 21st (Mayan Armageddon day), and we talked about the company's growth, what Songza looks for in a curator, their plans for 2013, working with Sonos and Elias's own picks for music for an end of the world playlist.

I'd suggest you give the conversation a listen!


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