Last week, Grooveshark, a peer-to-peer music file-sharing community that brokers music transactions between members, debuted a web media player version of its service, called Grooveshark Lite. The music search engine lets you play tracks while you search for others, all without signing up for an account. Think of it as a combination of sites such as Last.fm (with its social networking capabilities), Pandora and Napster/Limewire, but easier to use and entirely above-the-table.
"Grooveshark Lite comes as an answer to almost all of the questions and suggestions that early users had about the original Grooveshark platform," says Jack DeYoung, a writer and user relations representative for the company. Users can stream unlimited full songs for free on the player's self-contained Flash application, he explains. You don't have to download a client for your computer. Grooveshark's original product (which does require downloading a client) concentrates more on the actual downloading and sharing of DRM-free files.
With a library of over six million songs, the company has committed itself to compensating all copyright holders for their works, and has been working toward getting distribution agreements with as many record labels as possible. It works by allowing unlimited streaming, but charging for downloads. The more of your music you share, the more credits you receive toward free downloads. Each downloaded file puts some profits in the hands of the artist and some in the hands of the person who uploaded the file.
Grooveshark was started by two University of Florida students, and is a service of Escape Media Group, Inc. The site also features some solid writing in the forms of blog posts, essays and interviews.
TechCrunch.com: Grooveshark Launches Web Media Player
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