Grooveshark is a great new service that theoretically has the potential to “fix” piracy and peer-to-peer music trading on the Internet. Their premise: everybody gets paid — the artist, the record label, and the consumer.
The way that Grooveshark works is that, in typical P2P manner, you download their software and specify the folder where your existing music collection exists (i.e. iTunes’ My Music folder). Your music is made available to other Grooveshark users to purchase through their website for $0.99, from which you get purchase credits for sharing based on a unique contribution-ranking system of theirs, and the record label and artists get a cut out of.
Conversely, you can browse through Grooveshark’s online interface and purchase music using your credits or your wallet, which is shared/uploaded to you from other users. Did I mention? Everything on Grooveshark is DRM-free and completely legal. The sharer gets the credit, the buyer gets the song, and record label, upon signing up with Grooveshark, gets the royalty.
A really useful function of the service is the ability to access your shared music collection through its web interface. If not for trading music, this will be useful to many — you can, for example, install the software and share/stream your music collection from home, and access it online from your office. While there are a few services out there that have this functionality, Grooveshark is one I’ve found that just works and does so relatively painlessly. The added ‘Playlists’ function makes it even better. And while you’re listening to your own music, spend a moment or two reviewing your favourite song, and you can earn extra credits.
There have been previous attempts at legal P2P trading, but Grooveshark is one, in my opinion, that really hits the nail in the head. Its incentives are fairly decent to all parties and the concept is well thought-out. The service is currently in a closed beta, though you can request an invite and they’re fairly quick in letting you in. I notice I have five invites too, so I’ll be able to accommodate the first five comments to this post.