Grooveshark has unveiled a new and improved website, which includes the ability to send micro-payments to up and coming artists.
Grooveshark, one of the online music streaming services, has had a revamp and announced a new collaboration with micro-payment site Flattr. Expected to roll out to all users by November 1st, the new site is designed to be easier to use, and encourages support for emerging and independent musicians.
The website’s new appearance provides users with a more intuitive and attractive interface. Users can now see album art with each song title. The website also supports drag-and-drop motion so its easier to create playlists and organize your favorite music.
Upon first look, it seems that Grooveshark have taken some of the best features of its rivals, which include Spotify, and dropped the features that don’t work.
With the revamp, Groovesharkers can ‘follow’ their favorite artists on the site, and see what friends are listening to. However, the service doesn’t host advertising, something which could be a breath of fresh air to jaded Spotify users. The new Grooveshark has kept the ability to stream a customized ‘radio’ selection based on previous listening choices, or create playlists.
One of the biggest changes to the website is the integration with Flattr, a social micropayment service that allows users to support their favorite artists with a small donation. Grooveshark users can now add a certain amount to their Flattr account each month, then ‘Flattr’ as many artists as they like during that time. At the end of the month, the funds in the listener’s Flattr account will be split between all the artists they have “Flattrd”. So for example, if you add $5 to your Flattr account and Flattr five artists, each will get $1. Add $10 and Flattr five, and each will get $2, and so on.
Users can Flattr an artist with just one click, and it’s hoped that this new feature will encourage emerging independent musicians to showcase their work and earn a little extra from their music.
Unlike similar services, users can also upload their own songs, something which has landed the website in serious hot water with – guess who – record labels. The plus side of this feature is that artists can control what appears on their profile, manage their own track listings and interact with fans through the site in a similar way to other social networks.
The negative side is that, despite an on-site warning that users should only submit their own work, not engage in copyright infringement and so on, Grooveshark have still been sued.
Most recently, the website’s app was removed from the Google Play Store for the second time in September for violating the company’s developers’ policies. The site has also had its app rejected by the Apple app store too (mobile users who still want to use the service can search for Grooveshark Mobile and add a button to their home screen for direct access to the site through their cell).
Despite the issues Grooveshark has faced, it’s had an impressive track record. Just five years old, the site has over 30 million users. While other similar services have attempted to capitalize on their popularity, Grooveshark remains free to use.