The Latest: Songza Adding a 99-Cent Premium Subscription Tier…

Can a platform built on free successfully go premium?  Enter Songza, which is now pushing Club Songza, an ad-free tier with double the number of allowed skips.  Songza’s service will cost 99-cents a week, or roughly $4 a month.

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A weekly rate is unusual, though it allows Songza to advertise a ’99 cent’ price point.  Overall, the monthly cost is similar to premium tiers from Pandora (Pandora One) and Slacker, both of whom charge $3.99.

The transition comes amidst extremely-heavy debate over the merits of free internet radio streaming.  Pandora recently forced heavy mobile users to transition into paid platforms, citing heavy royalty burdens.  The results were surprisingly strong, raising further questions over whether Pandora’s extreme bias towards free access makes sense for anyone beyond listeners and Wall Street investors.

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Songza claims a respectable 4.8 million monthly userbase; Pandor a boasts a comparably hefty 70 million (and 200 million registered users).


Written while listening to Kanye West’s Yeezus.

2 Responses

  1. Casey

    I can’t see that this will be a success. Most people use Songza because it has few to no ads. The stations themselves are not that great and not worth paying for.

    Pandora is $3 per month if paid annually, which practically everyone does.

  2. mattbern

    Though it may seem insignificant, adding a small paid subscription tier to a service like Songza can go a long way. Especially when the cost is what amounts to $4 per month, it is small enough that anybody can afford to pay for the premium service. Also, the “99 cent per week” pitch gives it a certain buzz that makes it feel like you don’t have to pay anything, but in the end will get you to pay about $50 a year. It may be not be much, but it is something that allows a service like this to bring in some revenue (along with advertising), and help them to pay the royalty rates to artists that create the music that populates the platform.