Analysis

Grooveshark unveils Broadcast feature, but CEO is ‘literally broke’


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01_Grooveshark_Broadcast_Listener-730x408Read the coverage on tech blogs of Grooveshark’s soon-to-launch new Broadcast feature, and you’ll notice that the company’s legal battles with music rightsholders usually warrant just a brief mention in the last couple of paragraphs.

Never mind the licensing bollocks, here’s the amazeballs new technology feature, you could say.

We’re not saying Grooveshark should be treated as a pantomime villain – its capabilities for streaming-music innovation have been shown in the past – but it would be nice to see a bit more critical thinking in the tech world about the deals required to make Broadcast work.

What is it? “The first ever truly democratized radio platform,” according to Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino. “An audio voice to complement YouTube’s video voice and Twitter’s microblogging voice.”

Or to put it with less hyperbole, it’s a bit Turntable.fm / Soundrop, and a bit Radionomy / Live365 – a way for people to broadcast music (or, indeed, any audio content) to listeners on Grooveshark’s platform.

Grooveshark will place ads within the broadcasts and according to TheNextWeb “is also in talks with record labels to license their content through revenue-sharing deals”. Well, quite.

Broadcast is due to launch later this week on the web, with mobile and tablet to follow at some point. Tarantino has also been talking about Grooveshark’s wider business as part of the launch, saying the service now has 30m monthly unique users, with 20m of them using it on the web.

We suspect many artists and music rightsholders will struggle to find sympathy for Tarantino based on his Mashable interview though.”It amazes me how in early 2012 it poured bad luck,” he tells the blog.

“A year of getting punched in the face 10,000 times… We all don’t get paid a lot. I can speak for myself: I am literally broke. I am like literally broke and I am trying to lower my rent.” He remains confident that rightsholders will come on board (“It’s a much different conversation now”).

As ever, we think a properly-licensed Grooveshark could be a positive force in digital music. But the fact that it’s not yet isn’t just down to fusty old disruption-fearing rightsholders.

Stuart Dredge

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