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This article was published on October 28, 2009

Grooveshark Is Amazing, Illegal

Grooveshark Is Amazing, Illegal
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]


The world of music startups includes one oft-overlooked gem, Grooveshark. Enjoy it while it lasts, I have a sincere feeling that it won’t have twelve more months online.

It recently launched a new desgin, making the product even better.

That is the bad news. The better it gets, the more people will use it, and the more lawsuits it will attract.

Trust me, Grooveshark is a great product. Head to the front page, type in any song or artist, and stream all the music that you want. For free. To boot, their library is amazing, encompassing over seven million songs.

The service has a dead simple interface, and its wonderful playlist creation system to let you build a great selection of music to listen to while you blog. I’m doing that now.

I always have two tests that I run with music startups: what happens when I search for Metallica, and what happens when I search for Jedi Mind Tricks. If the service serves up equal content on each, I know that it has a deep enough library for daily use. Grooveshark blew me away under my grueling test.

And therein, we find the annoying rub: no one is getting paid. Well, that is almost true, EMI is, after taking Grooveshark to court of streaming their music. Let’s say that on a stupidly optimisitic front, EMI has worked out a deal wtih Grooveshark for two million tracks. That means that the other five million are still illegal, including the ones that I am streaming right now.

Still, Grooveshark did work out a deal with EMI, and it has other plans. Like Pandora it has a system of ads, and paid accounts to get rid of the advertisements. But, until it registers deals with at least a majority of the major lables, its potential legal trauma remains large enough to make anyone skittish.

All that together, Grooveshark is my new friend. I do hope we can find a way to keep it online.

I am not the only fan of the service, it sports now over one million registered users, and if you track its traffic it is growing quite nicely. I have one use case in mind that is perfect for Grooveshark: the netbook world. If you have a netbook, you probably have limited storage, and heavy internet access. That hits Grooveshark right in the nubbin.

What are you waiting for? Go play with Grooveshark!