Internet radio company Songza announced Tuesday it has raised $4.7 million in fresh funding that will help grow its advertising business. Investors include Amazon.com, William Morris Endeavor, Lerer Ventures, Deep Fork Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, artist managers Troy Carter and Scooter Braun, and author and tech businessman Gary Vaynerchuk.
“With this funding, we’re scaling our native advertising solution to make brand-to-customer interactions more engaging for customers and more successful for brands,” said Elias Roman, co-founder and CEO of Songza, in a statement. “This team of rockstar investors has already proven invaluable in those efforts.”
Songza's announcement comes early in the same day Apple is expected to launch iTunes Radio. While the New York City-based startup won't exactly steal Apple's thunder, the funding is proof the Internet radio race is open to companies of all sizes.
Whereas a typical Internet radio service streams music based on genre, artist or song, Songza allows listeners to select music for activities. This approach to curation allows Songza to integrate brands into what the company calls "life moments" such as working out, driving or entertaining.
Brands to have taken part in Songza's native advertising solution include Nissan, Samsung, Taco Bell, HSN, Victoria’s Secret PINK, Vitaminwater, Mr. Clean, and Colgate.
“By giving brands an opportunity to become a native part of its lifestyle-enhancing content, Songza is overturning the conventional wisdom that advertising and user experience are necessarily at odds," said Timothy Komada, Managing Partner of Deep Fork Capital, in a statement.
Songza infrequently provides listener statistics and did not offer updated figures on monthly listeners. The lone statistic provided was daily minutes streamed of 70,000,000. That works out to 1.17 million listener hours a day and roughly 35 million listener hours per month. In comparison, Pandora had 1.35 billion listener hours in August.