Despite its very love/hate relationship with the record industry (blocked by Danish ISPs in February, losing its only deal with a major, EMI, in April, lawsuits from Universal), Grooveshark is offering up all the user and listener data it has accumulated over the years. Its new Beluga tool allows users to search by artist in its archive and see listening trends based on that artist’s music as well as broader demographic data. All data is, for now, free and unrestricted and users can export it to CSV files. Josh Greenberg, Grooveshark’s co-founder and CTO, told The Next Web, “Any artist with music on Grooveshark can leverage Beluga’s revolutionary data to learn about their fans, route their tours, sell merchandise, work on building a following, and take their careers to the next level.” Grooveshark claims to have a broad base of respondents (from a monthly base of 20m users) as they were often given points (to help upgrade to paid accounts) for completing surveys. It gives gender splits of listeners, areas of the world where particular acts secure high affinity as well as which demographics respond mostly strong and weakly to acts. Data is often called “the new oil” but cynics might say that this is more akin to shark fin soup – something that could potentially command a premium price but is not always harvested in the most humane manner.

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