On the Death of Grooveshark

I suppose on some level, I knew that it was too good to be true. I mean, Grooveshark.com allowed users to stream full albums of music that were searchable by song title, album title, or artist and they neither charged for the service or interrupted the music with advertisements. Something awesome like that can’t exist for long without breaking some kind of rule. And in Grooveshark’s case, the rule was one that concerns creative types around the world.

It all comes down to licensing rights. When a creative person creates something, be it a piece of art or music or writing, that person owns it until they sell or loan it to someone else. In the case of musicians, most musicians sign deals with record companies that allow their music to be heard around the world in exchange for royalties (money made on stuff that gets sold). The record companies can sell licensing rights to places that allow them to play the music for a certain amount of money (which goes to the record company and eventually trickles down to the original artist).

Here's the letter that is posted at Grooveshark.com.

Here’s the letter that is posted at Grooveshark.com.

It seems that Grooveshark wasn’t paying the correct licensing fees to the record companies who owned the music that it had available for streaming on their site. And that is a shame, because I really liked Grooveshark’s service. And as much as the record companies are probably happy that Grooveshark isn’t out there playing music for which they did not pay, there’s a downside for them too.

I can think of a number of artists and albums that I wouldn’t have been exposed to outside of Grooveshark’s service. It really was a great way for potential buyers to make informed decisions regarding the music offered by the record companies that ultimately shut them down. Did Grooveshark lead to enough buyers to justify not shutting them down? Unfortunately not, but I’m sure that it led to a few.

As a creative person who creates things with the hope of selling or licensing them, I totally understand the need to reign in illegal streaming and illegal downloading and pirating materials. But at the same time, part of me would be happy that people are enjoying my work, even if they came by it in the wrong way.

But I put my writing out there on this blog for free everyday, so maybe I’m the wrong type of creative person to share my opinions. All I’m saying is that I wish there was a legal way that Grooveshark could have stayed operational. Either by limiting the number of times that a song could be listened to before requiring a listener to pay for a subscription fee or to buy the album outright, or by raising the level of their advertising to be able to pay the licensing fees required.

So I guess it is back to purchasing physical albums again (I’m not a huge fan of purchasing books or music in wholly digital formats because I’m a believer in both the quality and lifetime value of a physical product). Unless of course, you want to buy them for me (just let me know that you want to buy me things and I’ll send you a proper list of stuff I want).

Did you listen to Grooveshark? How are you dealing with its death?

Frugal Grooveshark Writes Like He’s Unshelved – or – Links!

Today’s links are aimed to make your writing life a bit easier and a bit more fun.

My buddy Bob wrote a guest post this week on Roger Colby’s blog about free tools for the frugal writer. He compiled a great list of resources, so rather than spoil the mystery and tell you what they were, here’s the link so you can find out for yourself.

If you are like me, you like to write (or work, or live) with a bit of music in the background. This link is to a site that provides access to full albums and lots of artists as well as radio stations for your favorite music genre. If you like Pandora, you’ll love Grooveshark, which only asks that you see one ad for every three hours of music, unlike Pandora which puts in an ad every three songs.

Are you fretting that you aren’t going to be the next Shakespeare? Maybe you are! If you haven’t tried out the online tool “I Write Like” yet, do it now. By the way, according to the site, this post so far says I’m the next Arthur Clarke. I could see that.

Lastly, if you love books and humor, you will probably enjoy this web-comic. I stumbled across Unshelved a few years ago, and since working in a bookstore is a lot like working in a library, I found it hilarious. Just don’t spend so long looking at it that you neglect your writing!

How I did this week. Also, fun links!It’s been a little while since I did a report card for myself. So this week, I’m going to give myself a B. I might have done better, but I had to take my laptop in to get fixed, and when it got returned, the keyboard didn’t work. As it happens, the guy who fixed it just forgot to reattach the keyboard cable inside the laptop. Easy fix, but it did mean that I didn’t get to write much on the night I went out to write. I did, however, manage to post everyday on my blog. I even have a new contest going! It is easier than the last one too, so don’t be afraid to try it out.

Thanks for reading!