New Pandora competitor boasts a 10 million song library.
Even though music players are becoming more and more portable, the reality is that most people are at a computer for the majority of their day. Instead of carrying around hardware for your music, lots of online services have recognized that cloud servers can provide a storage space for all your jams. Going even one step further, companies like Pandora have recognized that not everyone wants to make playlists or listen to entire albums in one sitting. Pandora has brought the convenience of flipping on the radio to the Internet. Since January 2000, when Pandora launched, they’ve been the most popular and successful Internet radio option for users in the United States.
Pandora’s claim to fame in the beginning was their use of the Music Genome Project. The project and Pandora’s utilization of it was the first commercial success of a user receiving music suggestions based on their previous listening preferences. Their reign may be ending however, with the arrival of Senzari.
Senzari Beta went live on November 9th, 2012 to a private group of users in Brazil and the United States. Later this month, they will expand the beta to Spain as well. Unlike Pandora, Senzari wants to focus on a global user base and hopes to get a leg up on their competition that way. In the future, the company aims to have listeners in Australia and in more locations in Latin America.
One of the areas in which Senzari hopes to hit a home run is the size of its music catalog. Currently Pandora claims that it has about 900,000 songs. Right out of the gate, Senzari is boasting a 10 million song library. However, their partners aren’t listed anywhere in full, so it would seem like those 10 million songs are comprised of independent labels willing to share for a low price. Also, Senzari hasn’t listed any of their international music partnerships, which could account for a large chunk of those 10 million songs.
Also, Senzari is focused on integrating every aspect of their service with Facebook. For example, while on Senzari, your Facebook friends will be displayed on the side of your screen and you could start a Facebook chat. Subsequently you’ll be able to see friend’s current activity, like what songs they’ve listened to and when. The service will comb your Facebook “likes” to incorporate that into the songs it selects for your different stations. In a nutshell, this means that even if you and your friend have a station based on the same artist, you could get completely different songs out of that artist’s discography depending on your personal preferences. This is the secret sauce that the company hopes will make it more intuitive for users than what Pandora is offering. Currently, the only way to get a Senzari Beta invitation is through Facebook, from another Senzari user.
TechCrunch praised Senzari’s minimalist and dark-hued interface compared to a perhaps outdated Pandora website. The downside to the Senzari interface is that it requires Flash, which Pandora has recently moved away from. Additionally, there is no workaround to the advertising model of analog radio and Pandora. Although the beta doesn’t have audio and visual ads right now, when Senzari leaves beta, they will incorporate advertising into their website. Senzari will also be available on the go within the coming year, on iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Interestingly enough, despite the mutual success of Pandora and Senzari, some believe that the web radio niche should brace itself for a decrease in traffic due to popular services that are hitting their stride, like Spotify, Rhapsody, and Rdio. However, Senzari founder Bill Hajjar is confident that the two services fulfill different needs in the online music community and can coexist peacefully. And he has a point.
Spotify and the like still require you to choose what you’d like to listen to, while Senzari and Pandora are still analogous to simply turning on the radio. Pandora has reigned supreme for about eleven years so it’ll be hard to topple the king of the mountain, but it looks like Senzari is geared up for some healthy competition.