grooveshark Grooveshark is an online site for streaming music – a free service for finding artists and albums and listening to them on your computer. The albums have been uploaded by regular folks and by this time the library available for streaming is remarkably large, including big hits and obscure rarities, official releases and unauthorized concert recordings.

The web site is fast and streamlined and advertisements are unobtrusive. Streaming starts immediately and sound quality is surprisingly good.The music can’t be saved and can’t be transferred to an iPod; this is for your computer only.

The question I can’t answer is why in the world it exists. It has all the earmarks of the kind of operation that has had the recording industry in a complete uproar for ten years. Grooveshark was apparently founded by some college undergraduates in Florida but it now supposedly serves 50 million songs per month. The big labels left it alone for a long time; EMI reportedly signed a licensing deal after filing a lawsuit last year, and Universal sued them a few days ago, although that might also just be an aggressive move in licensing negotiations.

I can’t guarantee that it will last, but for the moment you can go and listen immediately to almost anything you can think of. Here’s an article by a CNET writer who was excited to be able to listen to Phish performing the Rolling Stones album Exile On Main Street at a festival a couple of months ago. Check it out!

(If you work in an office, though, be respectful of the business bandwidth. You don’t want to slow down everyone else’s Internet connection just so you can listen to some tunes.)

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