Today, Grooveshark is doubling down on their effort to become a legitimate streaming music service with an upgrade that aims at user profiles, social media and recommendations of new music based on what you listen to. CEO Sam Tarantino told me last month that their new HTML5 browser app was "just the beginning," so today moves the ball down the field. They're offering independent musicians the kind of data tracking that makes musicians eyes glaze over, but is ultra important to making their future happen. If the old music world was about knowing people and connections in the industry, today is about merit and performance. "Data is the new hustle" is becoming a popular phrase, and Grooveshark is tapping in on that vibe.
So the new Grooveshark gets heavy on the social media aspect, as well as data for both bands and casual listeners. It also doubles down on the user interface to further the experience as an easy to use media player. I asked Grooveshark Chief Technology Officer Josh Greenberg about what's under the hood with the new Grooveshark, to see what was really happening. He said that users will get better recommendations based on what they've listened to, but it also draws on multiple data points like favorites and playlists. This makes it better at recommendations than Netflix, who already set the bar pretty high.
"Grooveshark's recommendations are quite different from those in a service like Netflix. First off, Grooveshark builds recommendations across millions of pieces of content, whereas the dataset in a service like Netflix is much smaller," he said. So basically this lets Grooveshark tap into the data to make the music experience better. Try it for yourself and see how it works, the site has just gone live at www.grooveshark.com/new.
For the independent artist, they're offering deeper tools to track how people are experiencing their music -- playlisting and recommending their songs -- giving them the ability to analyze how people listen. This give the artists the ability to modify their approach to what the user and listener wants, hopefully putting their music in front of more fans.
"Beluga is our flagship data offering and is online at beluga.grooveshark.com. Aside from that, artists can track analytics of all their key metrics within Grooveshark itself, such as plays, unique listeners, or playlist adds," said Greenburg.
Grooveshark originally went live with the HTML5 app back in January, and has been periodically upgrading the site over time. They landed agreements with 10 new recording labels in August, but still have a major lawsuit open with EMI that has drawn in the web site Digital Music News. Copyright law and patent law still so often dominate the headlines in the music and software industry, and Grooveshark seems to be moving through that haze. Do you use Grooveshark? What do you think of the service, and if you're an independent musician, are these upgrades good for you?