Grooveshark Autoplay: Pandora for the rest of us

Duncan Riley

P2P music store Grooveshark extend its already strong free music streaming service Grooveshark Lite last week with the addition of "autoplay," a Pandora like recommend music service that delivers content based on suggested likes.

The concept for such as feature isn't new, and many will recognize it as being Pandora's original model that was later picked up by and others. However, Pandora (despite its brilliance) hasn't been available outside of the United States now for over a year, so great contextual audio streaming has been thin on the ground for the rest of us.

I spoke with Grooveshark's SB Spalding last week about the product and its legality. Grooveshark already has an adventurous model; users upload songs to the service then anyone can buy those songs from Grooveshark with a cut going back to the user who uploaded it, along with the record companies themselves. There's a strong emphasis on quality, so unlike Seeqpod (a competitor to Grooveshark Lite) where it can be pot luck sometimes in terms of the quality of the music streamed, Grooveshark tracks a filtered based on quality, guaranteeing a decent track. Grooveshark has still to work out all the legalities with the new streaming service from what I can gather, but they have existing relationships with music companies and as Spalding told me, they spend far too much money on lawyers making sure they stay legal. This is not to say that a music company won't turn around tomorrow and try to close the new service down, but they are trying their hardest to keep copyright holders happy while still (obviously) trying turning a profit by delivering great products.

The autoplay feature is still new, so it may not have the richest algorithm in terms of contextual matching, but in my Brubeck test is passed the grade with flying colors. Well worth a look.