Grooveshark is an internationally available online music search engine, music streaming service and music recommendation web software application, allowing users to search for, stream, and upload music free of charge that can be played immediately or added to a playlist.
Grooveshark streams 50 to 60 million songs per month, to more than 400,000 users. In April 2009, its audience grew at a rate of 2–3% per day.
One of Grooveshark’s most notable features is its recommendation system called “Grooveshark Radio”, which finds similar songs to those in a user’s playlist and queues them for playback. Similar to Pandora‘s “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” feedback mechanism, users of Grooveshark can tell the recommendation system whether a particular recommendation was good or not by clicking a “happyface” or “sadface” icon. The main feature of Grooveshark is finding songs and playing them on demand instantly, building a queue in the process. When users are satisfied with the current list of songs in their queue, they are able to save the songs as a traditional playlist for later retrieval.
A Twitter-like social feature allows users to “follow” each other making it easier to share songs by clicking a special heart icon which adds it to the logged-in user’s list of favorite users. This list can be accessed by navigating to the user’s profile on the service. Like users, songs and playlists can also be added to a favorites list. Music can be shared on Grooveshark by directly linking songs to other users within Grooveshark or by posting links to other social networks like Facebook and MySpace through a “broadcast” feature, or by creating music widgets (small, embeddable music players) that can be posted on external websites.
Grooveshark is a rich Internet application that was first written in ActionScript using the Adobe Flex framework that ran in Adobe Flash. In December 2010, Grooveshark introduced a redesign of the site that features an interface rewritten to use HTML5, which makes the interface perform faster. The actual music player however, still uses Adobe flash. Grooveshark’s design implements various sliding panels to categorize and display lists of information, similar in style to that of the Apple iPhone. A right-aligned black modal window also slides in to display more information for songs, playlists, and users. Grooveshark also lets users upload music to their online music library through a Java Web Start application. The upload program scans folders specified for MP3s, uploading and adding them to the user’s online library on the service. The ID3 information of the uploaded song is linked to the user and the file is uploaded to Grooveshark which allows on-demand music playback. Collectively, each user’s uploaded library is available to any user of Grooveshark, however, concerns have been raised (see legal issues) over the legality of this content with regards to copyright infringement. All content on the service is user-sourced.
Grooveshark offers a subscription service called VIP for a monthly fee of $6.00 USD, or $60 USD for one year, up from $3.00 USD and $30 USD respectively since December 1 2010, and $9/month ($90/year) for Grooveshark Anywhere. VIP services provides additional functions, most notable is the removal of banner ads along the right side of the Grooveshark applet. The VIP service also includes smaller enhancements, such as the ability to use fullscreen mode, crossfading of songs, interface personalization, scrobble songs to last.fm pages, and more. Anywhere services offer access to the Grooveshark mobile application, currently available for Android, Palm, Nokia, and BlackBerry devices. Before December 1 2010, the support for mobile devices was available to Grooveshark VIP users. In the past, an iPhone app was available, but Apple removed the app from the iTunes App Store, due to a lawsuit between Grooveshark and Universal Music Group. However, the Grooveshark app is available for jailbroken iPhones. A Grooveshark application written for Adobe AIR, called Grooveshark Desktop, is also available for Linux, PC, and Mac.