Grooveshark is a legal peer-to-peer music sharing service that allows anyone to upload or listen to music for free. Claiming to have every song in the world, the site is supported by advertising and by payments from artists to promote their music. Users can upload their music and the site sees to it that the artist is paid whenever their songs are listened to. The site features a Flash-based music player and menu system. Users can save their favorite songs, albums and playlists, and also view their most recently played content. There is a social networking aspect to the site in that users can browse the libraries (music users have uploaded), favorites, and playlists of other users.
The site offers one-click widgets for embedding a song, album or playlist to Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon. Widgets are also available for embedding songs, playlists and albums to any website. It is also possible to share the URL of a song via email and vote a song up or down. Songs with the most votes are shown on the Popular page of the site. The player shows basic information about a song while it is being played, and more detailed info can be viewed by clicking on the View Song Info icon.
Gainesville, FL-based Grooveshark was founded in March 2006 by Sam Tarantino (currently CEO) and Josh Greenberg (currently CTO). The site originally offered to pay users for uploading music and sold music downloads, but has since gone to online streaming of music only. The site has grown steadily since launch, and currently serves hundreds of thousands of unique monthly visitors. The site has an Alexa page rank well below the 10,000 mark.
Competition to Grooveshark comes from sites such as Last.fm and Pandora. Last.fm offers suggestions based on songs that users like, and also offers music videos for viewing. Pandora is an outgrowth of the Music Genome Project and uses a sophisticated software algorithm to analyze and recommend songs based on what music users like. Grooveshark makes recommendations based on similarities in people’s profiles and favorites.
Thanks to its Flash-based interface, the Grooveshark site has a very smooth look and feel. The menus operate seamlessly, and navigation is intuitive. The site is very responsive, and page loads are almost instantaneous. The music player works very well and songs load and start quickly. There is a menu on the home page which can be returned to from any page on the site. The menu contains entries including My Music, Recent, Popular, Favorites, People, and Add Music. Advertising is displayed continually on the site, but it is relatively unobtrusive – all advertising appears in the right-hand side of the browser window.
Registration is free and is not required to listen to music on the site. Registration is required to save songs, albums and playlists and to save favorites or embed widgets to Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon. The registration process asks for username, password, email address, first and last name, date of birth and gender. Validation of the email address is not required. There is no premium membership offered to the Grooveshark site.
Grooveshark is free to use.
The Grooveshark site is recommended to music lovers who would like to share their own music library and listen to music. The site contains well over 7 million songs, so the claim that the site contains any song in the world is likely not an exaggeration. The site makes it very easy for users to share their songs, albums and playlists with others. Listen.Grooveshark.com is also recommended to music artists who need a venue to promote their music.