Spotify is the billionaire that promises to save the music industry, at least according to all the ridiculous hype.
But if it lands in the US, Spotify will be battling a formidable competitor: Grooveshark. And whether you agree with its licensing approach or not, Grooveshark is still kicking Spotify’s butt in a number of areas. For example:
Sure, Grooveshark’s a bit messier, and Spotify wins on interface. But you can almost always find what you want on Grooveshark. Content owners like UMG would certainly disagree with the acquisition process, but just try searching Arcade Fire on Spotify and you’ll see the difference.
Grooveshark is global, Spotify is limited to Europe, thanks to radically different licensing approaches. Sure, Grooveshark may get sued out of existence in the end, though never rule out a licensing rabbit-in-a-hat.
And, which do you prefer, web-based or application-based services? This is a question for the internet ages, though Grooveshark’s web approach does allow easy access from any connected computer (I still prefer an app…)
(3) Artist Promotions.
Grooveshark has a much better, cleaner splash page, one that focuses the attention on a single artist (and this has been effective, from what I hear). Spotify tiles a bunch of releases that seem more like filler.
The monetization devil made Spotify do it, but the free version is now crammed with ads. That is, audio inserts, constant full-app overlays, and big tower units. Actually, maybe that’s what it takes to motivate freebie listeners to upgrade, though Grooveshark features very few interruptions and a more continuous listening experience.
Grooveshark simply has a much larger pair, for better or for worse. Spotify is begging (or paying) for permission; Grooveshark hardly even apologizes. They routinely promote UMG artists on their splash page, they hang out with and tease UMG executives at conferences, they make elaborate sand sculptures at Midem, and they offer exciting-yet-totally-unauthorized features like full-track, offsite embedding.
(6) Name Recognition.
Everyone knows Spotify in Europe, at least in the European countries where it exists. But in the US, Grooveshark enjoys some serious name recognition, though more than a few music fans have asked us, “is this thing legal?”