Grooveshark Lures Record Labels Into Calmer Water

Videos by American Songwriter

For this year’s Next BIG Nashville Presents: SoundLand, the traditional music conference has been redone as “field trips,” evoking grammar school outings to the local science center.

On Thursday, a round of panels took place at The Belcourt Theater in Hillsboro Village. In a discussion about music streaming, three representatives from the Gainesville, Florida-based music startup Grooveshark shared insight about their model for music consumption.

Colin Brace, of Sun Entertainment, spoke on the subject of the startup’s record label relations, which has become a primary focus for Grooveshark, a user-uploading site that has existed under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor provision,” allowing them to operate without complete licenses obtained from copyright owners.

As streaming and subscription cloud music services like Rdio and Spotify (who both negotiated proper licensing deals with all four major labels before launching in the U.S.) have begun attracting users, Grooveshark is a heady contender, with 34 million monthly active users in 189 countries, including a robust presence in South America.

That, said Sun Entertainment’s Brace, is a major attraction for record labels: the chance to reach a wide swath of new fans, especially in new markets.

Groovesharks’ Senior Vice President of Business Development Paul Geller also touted the service’s analytics, which are provided for record labels and artist managers and offer insight on Grooveshark’s users’ listening habits.

While labels now have free access to modeling and trends based on Grooveshark’s users, Geller hinted that the company has plans to make the tools a software-as-service – a further way to monetize the product, which is ad-supported and free for users.


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Copyright Provision Stirs Up Debate Between Labels And Artists