Grooveshark to Launch New Pandora-Like Legal Digital Radio App

Controversial music service Grooveshark has revealed its plans to roll out what a company spokesman is calling their “first compliant app”, which is basically a new Pandora-like digital radio service, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. Previously, Grooveshark apps for both iOS and Android have been released only to be later banned from Apple and Google’s app stores after complaints from labels and rightsholders.


According to the WSJ’s report, the company is planning to roll out a digital radio service in January that will cost $0.99 per month and run without commercials. Called “Broadcasts”, the service will let listeners text chat with each other via the app while accessing custom radio stations created by users rather than algorithms. Grooveshark notes that in creating Broadcasts, it didn’t have to negotiate with the record labels that sued its founders and parent company for copyright infringement.

It’s cheap enough to be an impulse buy, but expensive enough to generate real revenue if enough people sign up, argues Grooveshark Chief Executive Sam Tarantino. The app, he added, could “change the ballgame” in digital radio, which is dominated by Pandora Media Inc. ’s free, ad-supported service.Mr. Tarantino said he didn’t obtain licenses when he started the company because labels were reluctant to give him permission to use their songs without sizable financial guarantees.

“It was a catch-22—you need money to gain licenses, and you need licenses to gain money,” Mr. Tarantino said. The record labels, he said, told him to “build something and come back to us.”

Mr. Tarantino also revealed the company is working to obtain licenses from the major record labels for Grooveshark’s existing unlimited streaming service as well, for which it currently charges $9.00 a month.