I just found the coolest site ever. Grooveshark. Let me explain.
Cloud computing is the new big thing. Basically it’s when processes and resources are done server-side, with only the basic interactions done locally. To simplify: your files are stored on a site, and you can play them from there. Sort of like I story my photos on flickr, and it’s almost like an external hard-drive. The nice part about this is it’s backed up by a company with much more resources to ensure their safety than I could provide. Another benefit is I can access my photos from anywhere, not just my computer. I get show someone my photos at their place because I can access them on flickr from there. Cloud computing is erasing the need for a hard-drive.
So apply this concept to music. I have no idea how Grooveshark is legal, but it is. Almost any mp3 you can imagine, Grooveshark has it in their database. It streams these songs to you in real time, it’s just like listening to them from your hard-drive. Any song, any time, as many times as you want. Start an account, create a library, make playlists, share them, etc. All free. If Grooveshark doesn’t have a song you’re looking for, upload your copy to their database, and poof, now it’s there for everyone to access.
Grooveshark makes it’s money off advertising and/or subscriptions. Every time a song is streamed, the artist and label get a cut. So every time you listen to a song from your favorite band, they get a cut. The more you listen, the more they get.
I see this as the future of the music industry. For a long time I had no idea how the music industry would ever regain their profitability, but I can see this being it. A centralized place where you can access all your music hassle free. Now you organize your music once and it’s the same regardless of where you access it from: home, work, phone, etc… Same music collection, same playlists, everything. And it’s free to use, the site makes its money off advertising, sponsorship of bands and optional paid memberships (removes advertising and gives a handful of non-essential but very cool benefits like a desktop client, etc). The bands and labels get their money from every play they get.
The best part is it’s a return to supply and demand. The music industry could collaborate with the media hubs like radio and MTV to engineer the success of mediocre bands. But with this model, an indie band from nowhere can make tons if their song catches on and gets lots of plays.
When you make a playlist it lets you export it as a widget, so my playlists will be from Grooveshark from now on. The first is already up, to the right. Underneath it you will see a link saying “Other Playlists”. This takes you to my list of playlists on Grooveshark. I am in the process of recreating all my older playlists so they will be accessible as well! Loving this site! I think when I get some money I will sign up for the paid membership!