Grooveshark dives into online free music steaming pool


Keep on swimming in the ocean of musical divinities

Wouldn’t you love to go down your dismal-looking collegiate path, and then at one brilliant moment manifest an idea that would release you from your mediocre GPA, student loans and addiction to processed foods?

For three University of Florida students, the weight of college is now off of their shoulders as their popular music application Grooveshark, under their company Escape Media Group (EMG), rises to the top.

Chief executive and co-founder of, Sam Tarantino, trotted through Gainesville as an average economics student that made his way to donate plasma when he passed a local record store that had a sign reading “buy/sell/trade CDs.”

He immediately dreamt up the idea to apply that concept to digital music, he said.

Grooveshark initially debuted in 2006, and was more or less a paid music download service.

“The application at that time offered an original purchase feature,” co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Josh Greenberg said. “When a user would purchase a song, a portion of the total cost of the song was paid to the person who uploaded the transacted song.”

Upon establishing their company, EMG decided to hire about 40 people for various public relations, business and technical duties, most of who study at UF.

Shortly after Grooveshark’s primary phase, the boys sought to transition it into more of an online music jukebox, similar to Pandora and, in 2008.

Grooveshark exists now as a streamline interface, where one can simply type in any song they can think of, and the program searches through the wires and waves of its 7 million-song-and-counting catalog to find it and play it in a matter of seconds.

“Grooveshark makes it really easy to share music with others and to personalize it to your particular taste,” said Allison Sakiotis, a UNF English senior. “It’s a very user-friendly site.”

Keep in mind that this direct song-choosing is only one option of Grooveshark. Much like Pandora, Grooveshark also has a radio feature called “Autoplay” where it chooses what song plays next based on what it determines you’ll like by you pressing the “smile” or “frown” icon.

And, unlike Pandora’s limited-skipping clause, you can skip as many songs as you so desire or choose to play whole albums or entire repertoire of artists for that matter. If you have that one song that you want to listen to on a constant loop, you can do that too.

“Grooveshark offers things you can’t get from Pandora,” said Tessi Standfast, a UF anthropology senior. “Features like listening to entire albums and being able to skip songs if you’re not feeling it aren’t features on Pandora.”

Also, like Pandora, there is advertising on the interface, but for $3 a month, users can eliminate the corporate eyesore and clean up their screen completely.

The Grooveshark team embraces their college town of Gainesville, although most of the core founders of EMG have taken leaves of absences from pursuing their degrees, they said.

In recent celebration of their application surpassing 1 million users, the team decided to throw an open-bar bash for hundreds of their local friends and fans at a club in downtown Gainesville. They organized for rapper Del tha Funkee Homosapien to churn out some lyrical poetry for the partygoers, and got to sit back all nostalgic-like and relish in their own success.

“I went to Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. with these guys when they were just programming nerds,” said Sakiotis. “It’s just really great to see them succeed in such a genuine business of spreading the word of music to the masses, for free.”

But the party wasn’t all The Grooveshark team represented. They reiterated collectively that it’s very important at this point to keep building their community.

“The more people in the service, the stronger and better it gets,” Greenberg said, “So UNF, check it out already!”