Living outside of the United States has its challenges, one that I have been struggling with for the past few years has been finding a decent alternative to Pandora. While options like getting a VPN or proxies do exists I have been able to use this opportunity to explore many more different apps and websites for listening and discovering new music. The one site that has had me hooked for the past two years has been Grooveshark. Its a very powerful music discovery and sharing network in which any use can create custom playlists and collect music that they want to save for later with ease.
The drag and drop functionality of this site is amazing. When I see a song on an artists page or in a search all you have to do is grab it and drag it to the player at the bottom of the screen. You can also use this functionality to rearrange the songs in a playlist with ease. At time I find this better than just clicking the "play last" button on the track.
The cutest feature by far has to be the checking to see if you're listening. When the music has been running for a while and you have not skipped, liked, or interacted with the site a dialogue box pops up asking if you are still there. If you are you hit the resume playback button and the music keeps going, if you don't the music stops after that song.
Creating playlists that are all user generated I have found I don't use so much, mostly what I do when I come into the site is just play my station over and over again adding music to the station and my favorites as they come up. The favorites and collection are the playlists that I use the most because they hold all the music that I have ever listened to on the service and thought it was good.
When broadcasts were first added last year I thought they were a very clever take on how radio should be. I have even done a few myself, it makes you feel like you're part of music loving community when you see that you are listening to the same song as 100+ other people.
Biggest plus I have for this service over all other music services that I have tried (8tracks aside) there are no ads in between tracks. Grooveshark has banner ads on their site and offer a paid subscription plan so you never have to sacrifice music time for ads.
I find that a lot of tracks are uploaded to Grooveshark are either duplicates of the same track or just miss labeled. There are options to flag songs as miss labeled or incorrect but I have yet to see how Grooveshark responds to these flags. A while back I had sent an email to the contact email on site suggesting that these duplicates should be looked at but never got an answer.
Artists have been pulling their music off the service. I have noticed more and more that when I search for artists they will have pages that are followed by a ton of people but will only have one or two tracks.
Maybe it is just because of the holidays but the big banner at the top of the screen has been bothering me. It throws me off when I open the site because I want to hit the play station button but then the banner loads and it takes me to my settings page instead. This is a temporary annoyance since I'm sure that this banner will not be around for ever.
As for the premium plan, it is a little pricey at $9/month I'm not entirely sure that you really get all that much bang for your buck. The main feature I want that's offered in the premium is the ability to add cross-fades between songs. I find probably once a week I hit that button but other than that I have not reached the limit for favorited songs, or really been effected too badly by the ads.
I have found that when I choose to listen to my station it plays music strictly according to what I have marked as my favorites. What I would like is to have a broader reach, there should be more music discovery based on what I like and what other people like me like. If I wanted to listen to the same few hundred tracks over and over I would put them all in to my iTunes and just play them that way.
Regardless this is a service that has me coming back for more again day after day. For a while I had the app on my phone, but it was a bit too buggy for me. It would be great for Grooveshark to make official apps for iPhone and android but I guess for now we'll have to live with jailbreaking and third party installs.
What is your favorite music listening site? If you are curious what I like to listen to you can find me on Grooveshark I'd love to hear what you're listening to!