Music Tech

Hands On Grooveshark’s New Broadcast Feature: Exploring Your Inner DJ

image from www.grooveshark.comGrooveshark continues its innovation streak with the launch of Broadcast, a new feature that turns any user into an online DJ. Grooveshark's Broadcast is much more than another playlist app. I addition to choosing songs and order without the usual shuffle option that can wreck a well chosen mix, there's a record button for Broadcast DJ's to add commentary.

Grooveshark Broadcast also offers chat to engage with the DJ and other listeners, along with the usual social options, and thumbs up/down buttons, presumably to provide feedback for the DJ. Listeners can also publicly "Suggest" songs which others can vote up or down.

Hands On

Writing about or listening to Grooveshark is always accompanied by a moral dilemma.

On the one hand, they're innovating quickly and in ways that others music streamers should pay attention to. On the other, they're operating in very questionable legal territory when it comes to proper licenses and rightsholder compensation. Most of the major labels are suing them, and their apps have been kicked off iTunes,Google's Android store and Facebook. Grooveshark also instigated a lawsuit that could be classified as harassment of the press against Digital Music News.

I just spent an hour enjoying one early user's Indie Folk station. Their musical taste suited my current mood perfectly (sorry, Songza), and I discovered artists like Alex Clare and listener suggested Wake! Owl.  This DJ had used the platform well.

But there was also a station that played all Green Day all the time.  Fine, if you love Green Day, but clearly breaking U.S. laws that Pandora and others operate under that limit the number of songs from a single album and artist that can be played in a broadcast stream hour

Check Out Grooveshark's Broadcast & Tell Us What You Think

Grooveshark Broadcast is now in preview for a couple of days (listen here), before opening to all later in the week.

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  1. I could easily imagine listening or saving links to some of these, depending on the playlist. GS should give the broadcasters a blurb to describe what they in particular are about and some way to search them.

  2. “Fine, if you love Green Day, but clearly breaking U.S. laws that Pandora and others operate under that limit the number of songs from a single album and artist that can be played in a broadcast stream hour.”
    Pandora is limited, true; others, not necessarily.
    Pandora and Grooveshark work on different licensing models—or are at least supposed to. Pandora is essentially a radio license, which limits the number of plays and skips per track. Grooveshark is a music-on-demand service like Rdio, MOG or Spotify. Their customers pay a much higher subscription than Pandora, which pays for less restricted streaming.
    What makes Grooveshark legally questionable (and, yes, probably illegal) is their narrower range of licensees. They have a contract with Merlin, a consortium of thousands of indie labels. They don’t have contracts with the Big Three, but regularly offer tracks by major label artists (including ones who’ve never made their content available for streaming through any service, e.g. Led Zeppelin), and typically re-list them shortly after a DMCA takedown request. Though Grooveshark as tried to get deals with the majors in the past, but now they’ve burned too many bridges for that to happen.

  3. Hi! I have the following problem: When I broadcast my station I can see on my right sidebar whenever a new listener joins. However, when I click on the listener’s name to find about his/her preferences or to add as friend etc., sometimes I find, to my surprise, that he/she is in broadcast with another station, not mine. I check back, the listener is still on my sidebar! Is there any chance to fix this?

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