Pandora played a big role in changing the way we listen to music online. We simply punch in a artist we want to hear and Pandora will quickly go to work creating a playlist that ‘it’ thinks you will enjoy. Simple enough right? Nothing to download, nothing to install. The service allowed thousands, if not millions, of people to discover new music from artists they never would have known for it not have been for the online service. However, with that being said, due to how mess-free Pandora is, it can also be said that the service is very linear. Basically, all you can do is type in a artist you are interested in building your playlist around from and that’s it. You can’t choose what songs get played and choose what gets into your queue list. It’s all taken care of by Pandora.
So, for music lovers who want a bit more freedom, you must take a look at Grooveshark and see how far back it leaves Pandora behind the competition!
Grooveshark has been around for a while and I’ve tried it at the beginning of its creation but I didn’t stay due to how I really didn’t care for Internet music streaming at the time. Fast forward to the present where everything and almost every service is being Internet driven, I’m starting to dig back into the crates and see what has changed with Grooveshark and let me tell you now, I’m liking what I’m seeing.
What is Grooveshark?
It’s really hard to talk about Grooveshark without comparing it to Pandora because while both stream music to your computer, they both have a lot of differences and it is these differences that made me permanently switch over to Grooveshark for my online music streaming needs. There is a nice blog article I came across from Google’ing that lists some of the advantages Grooveshark offers over Pandora. You can read it here. It also points out some of the nice features Grooveshark has to offer, which I’ll go over here as well.
– Most important feature of all is that Grooveshark does not impose any listening restrictions on you! That means you can listen to streaming music for as long as you like. With Pandora, each month you had a restriction on how much content you can stream. If you wanted to stream more, you either have to pay a small amount to continue streaming for the month or pay a yearly fee for unlimited streaming. Another restriction that Grooveshark does away is limited track skipping! Due to legal issues with Pandora, users (even premium users) were limited to how much songs they can skip. Once you hit that limit, you’re forced to listen through the entirety of future songs. With Grooveshark, you can skip, pause, fast forward, rewind, replay and bookmark a track all for free. Oh and did you know that if you live outside of the United States you basically can’t use Pandora? With Grooveshark, it can cater to a much, much, much bigger audience!
– Grooveshark offers a much more better looking interface when compared to other music streaming services. It resembles that of an actual music player/jukebox. You have a queue list on that bottom, a navigational sidebar for viewing and playing your playlists, viewing your library, favorites, and people. Grooveshark is a community driven service so the more users there are, the better the service will be. You do not have to create an account to enjoy Grooveshark but if you do, you can use other services that you normally wouldn’t be able to do under a regular user. For example, you can’t upload your own music nor can you create your own custom playlists. With Grooveshark you can find other music lovers who have the same music taste as you. You can view and listen to their custom playlists and more (although I haven’t really used this feature myself). By uploading your own songs, you can then listen to them from any computer with an Internet connection. Other people will also then be able to listen to your songs as well. Once again, the bigger the community the better Grooveshark will be.
– Another big feature of Grooveshark is actually being able to search for and listen to specific songs! Unlike Pandora which everything was left into their hands, with Grooveshark, you can be your own DJ if you choose so. Want better news? Grooveshark actually allows you to listen to full artist albums as well! If you want to listen to music only from a specific artist, you can do that as well! Simply search for the artist, click on the Artist (or Album) tab, right click on the artist and select Play All and Grooveshark will add them to your queue.
– Pandora was famous due to how it creates a playlist for you that it thinks you will enjoy (actually, that’s the only way Pandora can be used). If you like or dislike a song, you can let the service know. With Grooveshark, the same can be done. With a feature called Radio, Grooveshark can also play the role of DJ and queue up songs that it thinks you will enjoy. Simply play a song, hit the Radio button and Grooveshark will go to work. This is a perfect way to discover new artists and songs that you might have otherwise missed out on. I want to point out that nothing is perfect and there will be times when Grooveshark will queue up a song you don’t like or queue up something that’s totally awkward. Good news is you can tell the app it made a mistake or you can simply skip the track. Remember, no track skipping limitations!
– If you are having a hard time deciding what to listen to or just want to be up to date on what’s popular in the music scene, simply select the Popular playlist category. You’ll immediately see a pretty large playlist with the most popular songs in it. Play one or play them all with ease! You can mix things a bit by hitting the shuffle button.
– Grooveshark knows that social networking is the hot thing right now so the service integrates nicely with sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Stumbleupon. If you came across a song that you want to share with another friend, you can also simply email the link to them! If you want to purchase a song, Grooveshark also makes that possible by searching for that song in either Amazon or iTunes.
– Want to create a music player or widget with your favorite tunes in it on your blog or website? Grooveshark does that too! Simply customize your mini music player, throw in your favorite tunes and copy and paste the HTML code onto your site!
– Grooveshark does offer VIP membership in which members can get rid of ads, get faster support priority, and be the first to test out new features of Grooveshark before anyone else. If you want to get rid of ads when accessing Grooveshark in your Firefox browser, you can simply get the AdBlock Plus Firefox plugin. However, with free online services, it’s always nice to just click on an ad once in a while to support the developers.
– Last but not least, music quality is really good with Grooveshark!
If you don’t like the idea of controlling Grooveshark every time in a browser tab, then you must check out a Firefox add-on called Prism, which I wrote about here. I’ve used Grooveshark as an example.
– Not much negative things can be said of Grooveshark, at least not in my eyes. However one thing that I do wish it allowed me to do (Pandora has this feature) is create a Radio station with a genre selection of my choice. For example, rather than typing in a song first (or playing one) and then hitting the Radio button, I can simply select, for example, the Alternative genre and Grooveshark will immediately play songs only from that genre. Not really a big deal but it’s something that I would like to see supported in the future.
Grooveshark now gives you the ability to start a radio station of your choice based on your genre of choice.
– Grooveshark’s ability to allow you to play almost any song sounds really nice when you are the user but behind the curtains, there could be a lot of issues concerning legibility. Although the users are not able to download songs they play, other infringement rights can come into play none the less. The weird thing is that Youtube, the popular video sharing site, actually allows users to listen/stream music as well. Users are allowed to upload music so I see that as a legal issue as well when compared to Grooveshark yet the videos don’t get taken down! If you take down Grooveshark, then why does Youtube get a pass? That’s just a thought I had now. Anyways, Grooveshark has been around for some time now so I’m hoping it will continue to last. With its popularity soaring though, you can never be sure what tomorrow might bring.
– There is no Grooveshark iPhone app! Good news is that after a quick Google search, I found out that the application is actually in the works and is as far as just waiting for approval from Apple themselves. Good luck to the Grooveshark team!
I’m a big music lover and I’m sure many of you reading are as well. Grooveshark is like a dream come true. Imagine having your own personal library that includes thousands and thousands of songs that you can listen to all day, everyday! Using Grooveshark is free. Most importantly, it’s really simple to use. Try it out and see how it can broaden your music world!