Grooveshark rose to fame because it allowed people to upload and play their own music rather than investing in expensive deals with music publishers, whom didnt’ exactly like this method. (To date, all the major music companies are wrapped up in legal battles with Grooveshark.) Now, the service is trying to strike out on a new model that will hopefully make all sides happy, including fans that prefer it over more ridged music services like Pandora.
Grooveshark’s Broadcast is attempting to recreate the experience of a terrestrial (aka old school) radio’s DJ shift. A Grooveshark user will first start broadcasting their music selection, which is available to anyone who wants to listen in. From there you’ll basically just play songs from your own collection of music as well as insert 30-second recordings that can introduce songs, sets, or provide commentary about anything. When you stop DJing, you can either hand off your audience to another DJ or your station goes off line.
“This is a completely lean back experience. There are no back or forward buttons and you’re basically relying on good DJs to play music you enjoy,” said Grooveshark CEO and co-founder Sam Tarantino in an interview with VentureBeat. “What we’re hoping is to turn radio listeners into broadcast personalities.”
There’s also plenty of social interactions integrated into the Broadcast experience. The DJ can now see everyone who’s currently listening to his session on the sidebar. Those listeners can rate songs as they’re played, make comments, and make suggestions about future songs. The DJ broadcasting does have a queue of music that can be added to, which can easily be altered depending on the mood of the listening audience.
Tarantino said the new Broadcast radio service isn’t eligible to pay music companies for usage through SoundExchange (like Pandora and other smart radio service do) because the new service is mixed usage. Grooveshark is hoping to come to an agreement with those labels to license music in a way that makes sense, but has yet to reach a lasting agreement.
Gainesville, Fla.-based Grooveshark has previously raised under $5 million in funding and has over 30 million active monthly users, according to the company. Check out some additional screenshots of the new radio service embedded below.