April 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

6 Reasons Grooveshark’s CEO Thinks Recorded Music Should Be Free

sam tarantino grooveshark ceo cofounder

Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino has played music since he was 10 years old (photo: Eliot Van Buskirk).

Grooveshark is getting it from all angles. Not only did its only major label deal (with EMI) collapse, but the company is now being sued by all four major labels for large-scale copyright infringement due to its policy of letting users upload music into its system, where over 30 million people stream it for free each month — mostly in the absence of licenses from artists, labels, and publishers.

On Friday the 13th, things took another turn for the worse, as TuneCore’s opinionated Jeff Price — who made his name signing the Pixies in the ’80s, whose company distributes independent music to iTunes and elsewhere, and who himself has  no love for major labels — launched a diatribe against the company.

“Grooveshark is a fish rotting from the head down,” he claimed. “The people running it are immoral and could [sic] care less about who and/or what they hurt as long as they make money. They make the major labels look like saints. From my perspective, there is no possible way anyone could seriously work at that place and state they truly care about musicians and songwriters, unless they are so delusional or drank so much of their own Kool-Aid they lost touch with reality.”


On that same Friday, I walked in to the Manhattan office of Grooveshark CEO and co-founder Sam Tarantino to find him strumming a guitar. He had agreed to be interviewed by Evolver.fm about why what his company is doing is not “dodgy,” in the word of a friend who recommended we not put together a playlist for Grooveshark because it would look like we were endorsing a company that didn’t respect copyright or musicians.

grooveshark netflix

Grooveshark users apparently have no problem paying for movies; Netflix is a current advertiser.

Grooveshark is available as a web app, and as a universal HTML5 app for just about any smartphone. The downloadable iOS and Android apps were banned from  iTunes and Google Play and are absent from the other stores. According to Tarantino, Grooveshark employs over 60 people in Gainesville, Florida, and 16 in the New York office where we met, most of whom are in the advertising division.

Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino defended the approach of the company he dropped out of college to co-found at age 19 in 2006 with his friend Josh Greenburg for nearly an hour, before he took a train to catch a plane.

Below are the six main reasons he thinks recorded music wants to be free, just like it (mostly) is on Grooveshark:

1. Record labels want too much money

Grooveshark was initially set up to be a service for helping users sell used digital music to each other, deleting the music from the seller’s hard drive as it was sent to the buyer, according to Tarantino. But when the iPhone came out, he quickly became convinced that the future lay in streaming music rather than downloading.

“That’s when it started to grow virally,” said Tarantino. However, that shift would ostensibly require licensing from the labels, unlike the plan to sell used digital music.

Around that time, he and Greenburg considered moving their budding startup from Gainesville, Florida to Silicon Valley. They did not, in part, because they considered licensing music from the labels to be too expensive.

I remember a specific point when we said, ‘We need to move to Silicon Valley. That’s where it’s all happening, and we’re going to go.’ Then it just didn’t make sense. Imeem was coming out, Playlist, Lala, SpiralFrog, Qtrax — all these guys started coming out [ed. note: follow those links to see what happened to those services]. We said, ‘There’s too much money being raised, it doesn’t make any sense, the label per-stream rates aren’t working — something’s going to collapse here. It doesn’t make sense. So we said, ‘Let’s just stay here — at least we know we can keep the costs lean.’

According to Tarantino, the labels are focusing on the wrong business (recorded music) at a time when the money is shifting to live events. Of course, decades of recording contracts exist built around the idea of artists selling their music to labels so that labels can ostensibly try make both parties money by selling that music. Nobody can blink and make those go away. But in Tarantino’s mind, the business nonetheless needs to evolve away from the sale of recorded music, the sooner the better.

2. Musicians Already Get Paid More by Touring Anyway

Contrary to what TuneCore’s Jeff Price argued, Tarantino claims he sees things from the artist’s perspective — and that, for those artists, recorded music is pretty much a wash anyway.

I’ve always looked at this problem from the musician’s angle. Did you see the Bieber numbers recently? They split the royalties for the song ‘Boyfriend,’ the fourth-best-selling download of all time. You look at the splits and it just doesn’t make sense: $390,000 to the label, which makes sense; $200,000 to iTunes; and only $83,000 to Bieber, with a couple of songwriters that get around $2,000 per year.

Then you look at Bieber’s tour. It’s like $52 million. I’m thinking about this, going, ‘If the fourth-best-selling download [has the] artist making sub-$100,000, and there are probably deductions [to recoup the advance from his label], something’s not right here.’ The distributor, iTunes, is making twice as much as the artist… and yet the tour is making over $50 million. It’s clear that in ten years, the incentives are going to align so that music should be free, because it’s going to sell everywhere else. Why should the music industry as a whole care whether or not the walletshare comes from a tour with a $100 ticket or $100 in CD purchases over the year? In the end, it doesn’t matter.

However, the stakeholders who profit from tours are almost always different from the ones who profit from recorded music. So-called “360-degree deals,” which give labels a cut of all of an artist’s revenue, making them a hybrid label/publisher/promoter/manager/brand licenser, are still relatively new. Which brings us to his next point:

3. The Music Business Is Too Slow and Partially Broken

As mentioned, Tarantino thinks the entire music industry must and will shift to 360-degree deals, in which artists sell not only their sound recordings and some of their publishing rights, but also a portion of their live show receipts, merchandise, and sometimes branding opportunities to labels.

In return, labels would offer larger advances, and ostensibly spend more time developing the artists because they would have a stake in them that extended beyond the sales and subscriptions of their recorded music.

For starters, he says he understands where the labels are coming from:

The core problem that the labels have, and I’m not necessarily ragging on them because I understand the history of it and why it’s been a scary thing: MTV screwed them over, Apple screwed them over [and] it’s always been this sort of contentious relationship with technology. It’s understandable. But fundamentally, imagine if they’d diversified their business into starting to buy promoters back in 2000.

Indeed, that would have given them a stake in live music earlier, and facilitated 360-degree deals much earlier. Hindsight is 20/20. Leaving aside the fact that the labels already did not do so, Tarantino elaborated on his history of trying to negotiate licensing deals:

Part of the problem is, I would go in at 20 years old with a service that had 10,000 users, going, ‘Guys, let’s just do this license, let’s work with each other, we can help you shift from point A [recordings] to point B [360-degree deals].’ And they all agree with this, by the way. They say,”‘Yeah, we’re going to the 360 model, and eventually we’ll be taking a cut of everything’…

They would kick me out of the office, basically, and say, ‘Come back when you have some users and we’ll treat you seriously.’ So I came back with 100,000 users, and it was like, ‘Well, this is interesting, but we’re not quite sure this model’s going to work.’

I mean, I’m an entrepreneur. You don’t take no for an answer, you just keep knocking at the door until you get in, right? So by the time we had two or three million users, they said, ‘You’re infringers, you’re these horrible people, you kill babies, you throw them out the window,’ and it’s like, ‘Wait, didn’t you kick me out of the office in the first place and said ‘Go build users so we can work together with equity?’

Just to give you a sense of what we were offering at the time, we ended up settling a deal with EMI at just under a million [dollars], but the overall money we’ve paid them to date is about $2.5 million… about $200,000 per month. And so, all of a sudden this [potential] Universal acquisition [of EMI] happens, and it’s like, ‘we no longer want your $200,000 a month.’

EMI is the smallest major label. That $2.5 million would look more like $25 million if all the labels were involved. Covering that would require Grooveshark to raise more venture capital money, although according to Tarantino, it was able to pay EMI using its only cashflow from advertising and didn’t have to tap into its venture capital investment, which he says totals below $4 million to date.

Again, the problem in his view comes down to labels asking for too much money, because he thinks they see more value in recorded music than the market will bear. Meanwhile, investors would be reticent to fork over $25 million only to see Grooveshark turn around and hand it to the labels, leaving Grooveshark with no option to secure licensing now that it has over 30 million monthly users (nearly twice as many as Spotify).

According to him, the slowness and lateness of their shift to 360-deals — as opposed to piracy on a mass scale driving the perceived value of recorded music ever downward — is why their revenues declined over the past ten years:

It’s not piracy, per se, that’s killing them. It’s the fact that they haven’t been able to build artists effectively and then monetize them around the ancillary revenues. Look what they’re doing with Vevo. Free music already exists: It’s YouTube, it’s Vevo. Legally, I can get any song I want off of YouTube right now, so it’s just funny to see their perspective on it. ‘Why are you supporting Vevo when you’re so aggressively attacking us?’ Somehow it just doesn’t make sense.

One reason that does make sense is that YouTube fought through the same sort of lawsuits that now face Grooveshark, and eventually obtained licenses from all the big labels and publishers. In addition, it helped the labels build Vevo, which they own (along with Abu Dhabi). And as far as its basic approach…

4. Grooveshark is modeled on early YouTube (the one that got sued)

The entire idea behind Grooveshark is to do what YouTube did, and still does (albeit with licensing): allow people to play just about any song as quickly as possible.

We said [in 2007 after the iPhone came out], YouTube works so well because anybody can just watch a video in two seconds. Click a video, or somebody sends me a video, and boom, you’re in. The whole Grooveshark concept is around ‘get to play a song as fast and easily as possible.’ Then the possibilities are endless for the amount of this shift from this consumer demand for paying for music, to the consumer demand being touring, merchandise, and everything else in the offline world…

And while you won’t find any Beatles songs on Grooveshark (one of the only bands it seems to filter out, rather than waiting for cease-and-desist notices), the Beatles are in fact all over YouTube, as he claims.

Look at YouTube and search ‘Beatles,’ and every Beatles master is up there, and I know from a fact — from having screaming matches with the EMI guys — that Beatles isn’t supposed to be anywhere except for iTunes. So, it’s easy to demonize us, but here’s YouTube doing the same things — but they’re Google, so how can they be illegal?

Outside of this Beatles case, they’re not illegal, in most cases, because YouTube has licenses with labels and publishers for most of its music. Without such licensing…

5. Grooveshark complies with takedown notices

Because Grooveshark includes almost all music for which it has no license, the company relies on the DMCA’s “safe harbor” clause, designed to protect ISPs and operators of user-generated sites when their users upload infringing material. Companies like Grooveshark need only comply with those takedown requests in order to be legal, which is what infuriates the company’s opponents (and Jeff Price).

We have six people — what the law says, and what we abide by down pat because we modeled this off of the YouTube situation, is that you don’t even necessarily have to build a filtering system [to stop certain music from being uploaded]. You just have to know exactly when somebody sends you a takedown notice, and you have to give them the benefit of the doubt [that they own the copyright to the song], so that’s what we do.

We get takedowns that aren’t even official DMCA takedowns that we still take down. We block users’ ability to upload on the first [takedown notice], and you’re supposed to ban users on the third. We’ve gone a little bit above and beyond what’s required by the DMCA, but still, when you’re growing fast, there are any number of new users who don’t know the rules.

And it’s those users who tend to fill in the gaps in Grooveshark’s catalog as soon as they appear due to a cease-and-desist notice, which is why you can find just about anything (except the Beatles) on Grooveshark.

Tarantino has a novel approach for trying to convert the rest of the music industry to his view that recorded music should be free, and that artists and labels should make money pretty much exclusively on touring:

6. Grooveshark’s Ad Platform Can Boost an Unknown Band to 500K Views in Three Weeks

To demonstrate to the labels that they should abandon the idea of selling music, and instead use recordings to promote show tickets and other ancillary revenue streams, Grooveshark is trying to show what it can do to promote 15 or so bands on its service as a sort of proof of concept.

Here we are, sitting on over 30 million users, and nobody has really come to us and said, ‘Let’s take my artist and start building them here so we can make them a $20 million tour on the back-end. That’s where I’m heading with it. We have this band called Quiet Company — and we’re doing this as a case study so we can show the industry — who had zero plays. They’re an Austin band, kind of Strokes-sounding band, really, really strong, a really good band. We ended up just giving them these engagement ads we have now. If you’re on Grooveshark for more than four hours, you have to watch an ad, and they’re all music video ads. The response is overwhelmingly positive. We haven’t lost any users…

So with the engagement ads, we started with the Quiet Company video, and we’re doing this with 15 other artists. We drove half a million views within three weeks to the Quiet Company video, and it had like a thousand hits before that. If we’re at 10 times our current scale, it means we can drive five million views in three weeks. That’s insane.

The big thing I see as an opportunity is that plenty of venues are sitting there unfilled. Consumers are obviously willing to shell out for bands they love to see them live. And what that requires is free music to build these eyeballs up as much as possible. It’s not just music, either — it’s everything.

Old media thinks of things as restrictive. ‘How do we have a release date and not give anything until that release date? How do we not give everybody an exclusive?’ Whereas in the tech world, it’s always about scale: ‘How do we get this to as many people as possible?’ It’s a very different mindset that has created this clash between the old and the new.

And there you have it: the six reasons Grooveshark co-founder and CEO Sam Tarantino thinks music should be free.

In the world he envisions, Grooveshark would make perfect sense — a point he hopes to prove using reason number six.

Whether that’s the world we actually live in is a different matter entirely.

Do you use Grooveshark? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Let us know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jacob-ODaniel/100001618205789 Jacob O’Daniel

    this really is just a shove at the music industry, every industry is doing this digital copys of something cost less to make sell produce ect ect ect yet we keep getting charged as if it were physical media if im paying that kinda money for media, a song, movie, book, they still wanna charge me the same yet i have nothing physical to own, its one copy resold millions of times there for it should be dirt cheap not free but dirt cheap

  • Dwayne

    Pff.. it’s like saying all software should be free. Ridiculous!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jodi.durst.5 Jodi Durst

    Touring is expensive for any band or musician who doesn’t have any third party support, in the USA. I’ve been in touring bands for decades, and i had to stop because it broke my “bank.” I’ve played with signed and unsigned bands, too. However, i agree with the argument that you can stream anything on Youtube. I think the problem is more that art and music in the US aren’t valued as a form of cultural enrichment, such as it is in some social democracy countries (Netherlands, to name one)–where artists get paid by the government. Anyway, the economic structure in this country (eg capitalism) is where I’d place the blame, personally. And, that’s a larger problem than free downloads. anyway, I used to tape songs off the radio back in the 1970s and 80s… and I have always been a supporter of bootlegs… the record labels have always been the master of puppets, so to speak. they shot themselves in the foot years ago. So, this back and forth banter is a little moot. Both sides have strong points. No need to be angry, though.

  • Level Minded

    Go Gators!

  • Cat

    Bottom Line : Reality does not obey the bottom line. Work with it.

    [I say that as a relatively broke-ass aspiring artist. Definitely not on the business end, and probably never will be. If I ever make enough money to just support myself and continue to grow artistically, that is more than enough].

    People rag on this shit, but they’re too busy squabbling over a few lost bucks to realize the freedoms and liberty that this technology gives us creatively and artistically, away from record labels. It’s tough to learn [I'm still learning], but ultimately, I love it.

    Back in the day, all the big bizzo people had it right-over artists creatively. Few people could make the music they wanted to and put it out there for an audience.

    Anyway ;
    I totally disagree with you.

  • Ali Baba Shakeri

    This article is nearly two years old and paints an incredibly accurate picture of what we see today in the industry!

    Artists continue to rely on live touring more than ever to make a living off their music, and are giving their music away in order to grow their followings to justify to promoters and agents that they worth going on tour.

  • TJR

    This is the most chickensh** argument ever!

    I can just imagine what you would have been like during the days of slavery.

    I can just imagine you arguing with an abolitionist: Slavery may be wrong, but the bottom line is it’s the reality. And reality does not obey the bottom line so deal with it.

    The reason you are boke ass musician is because you have bought into the Kool Aide that the tech companies have fed you.

    We are not squabbling over a few lost dollars here.

    Tech companies are making MILLIONS of dollars from our content and then give us back next to nothing in return (or in the case of Grooveshark and other piracy websites they give nothing back).

    There was once a time when NO ONE would even remotely consider not paying a musician or songwriter for their work. But musicians like you have the tech companies laughing all the way to the bank.

    We are the masters of our own destiny. We can organize and have EVERY RIGHT to demand that the internet treat us a fairly and ethically as any other profession in the world.

    But it’s musicians like you who want to keep us in slavery.

    Wise up and face the truth.

    A good start is the Trichordist blog newsletter. Stand up for your rights and you might actually have a chance at not being a broke ass musician for the rest of your live….because if you don’t, that is precisely what you are going to be.

  • Cat

    You make some good points, but wow……. Exaggerate / Hyperbole, much?

    “I can just imagine what you would have been like in the days of slavery”
    “I can just imagine you arguing with an abolitionist:”

    I can just imagine you sucking a turd out of a fat german man’s ass and eating it : Just because I can imagine it, that doesn’t mean that my imagination is true or correct, now [does it?]

    “But it’s musicians like you who want to keep us in slavery.”

    Really? That is so, so dumb…. I’m not sure how you think that is an equal or correct analogy, or why you think the “plight of musicians” is equal to BLACK SLAVERY [wtf ? seriously?] or why you felt the need to insult me by saying that I am
    “in favour of slavery”. Where did you pull this crap from? Please put it back where you found it.

    “We are the masters of our own destiny. We can organize and have EVERY RIGHT to demand that the internet treat us a fairly and ethically as any other profession in the world.”

    Yes, you definitely are the master of your own destiny, and you DO have EVERY RIGHT to demand “The Internet” treats you “fairly” [because you have been "enslaved by the internet! and tech companies"]

    I sincerely wish you : Good luck with that.
    Let me know how you go with it.

    Hopefully you can “beat the internet” and win all the moneys.

  • Wes

    I’ll be blunt, the recording industry sucks and deserves to go under because they’ve been SCREWING artists and fans for years. I don’t believe music should be free but the record company and freaking iTunes should not make more money than the artist. There’s something wrong with that picture. I don’t know exactly how to do it but with the technology we have today, we should be able to take the recording industry out of the loop, in other words, remove the middle man. The artist could make most of the money from “their” recordings and the fans could buy their music for less. This is already being done to some extent but needs to increase. Plus, this would promote more original sounding music and less of the corporate cookie cutter garbage that the industry passes as music today. I love Grooveshark by the way.

  • TJR

    So you agree that music should not be free (which is great to hear a musicians say BTW )….and then you say that you love Grooveshark, a company who wants to profit off your music without paying you anything back? That doesn’t make sense.

    BTW: itunes takes (roughly) about 30 cents of the 99 cents made off of your song. If you let a company like CD baby be your distributor they are only going to take 9% of each sale so that’s going to be about 39 cents of your 99 cent sale, leaving your with about roughly 60 cents per sale (your profit margin will be bigger in other countries). That’s a better average than most record deals and not a bad deal at all to be on one of the biggest online music stores in the world. But you don’t get the kind of promotion that a record deal can give you….And while we are on the subject: The entire recording industry DOES NOT deserve to go under.

    Yes, some musicians got screwed by labels but lots of musicians did well for themselves because they had the good sense to pay attention to the business end of their lives (or had to the good sense to just hire someone good to do it for them. Ray Charles and Mick Jagger are good examples of this).

    Some record labels are better than others some reps are better than others. Some took good care of their artists and some didn’t. Some cared about music first and some didn’t. The same holds true today. But saying the entire biz deserves to go under is just more mythology that tech companies and pirate sites want you to believe so they justify treating you worse than the record labels ever did

    Meet the new boss – Worse than the old Boss

    PS Record labels never screw fans…..They just put product out there at a price that they think they can get…..If you think it’s too high, DONT BUY IT till the price comes down (That’s what I do).
    If you buy it anyways you proved that they where right to set their price where they did, and you screwed yourself.

  • TJR

    True. But not every artist can tour. Also songwriters who write for recording artists cannot tour either. This is why it is so important for musicians and songwriters alike to stand up for their rights. And no on has the right to decide if your music should be distributed for free but you.

  • Wes

    Okay, let me rephrase that then, “major” record labels need to change or fail. Sorry man, but record labels do screw fans and you’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. For years fans have been fed CDs with maybe two or three decent songs and the rest being total crap. I don’t buy them, I either buy used CDs or buy a track at a time. Yeah some labels are better than others but in general most of them stink. Did you read the part about what Bieber made from Boyfriend? $390,000 to the label, $200,000 to iTunes and $83,000 to Bieber? I can’t stand him but that ain’t right. Sure, lot’s of artists manage their money well but that doesn’t mean they were getting a fair shake from the record company, it just means they took what they did get and made the most of it.

    As far as Grooveshark goes, show me where I can download free songs from Grooveshark? I can go to Youtube and do the same thing I do on Grooveshark but that’s okay? I couldn’t care less if Grooveshark streamed my music as long as they weren’t letting people download it and not paying me.

    I realize that a record label can get behind you and push you to success but good luck getting a record deal if you don’t fit the formula that the industry is trying to push at the moment. Look at some of the sorry excuses for music that they have made successful. There are a lot of good artists out there that never get air time or recording deals because they don’t fit the mold.

    The industry has to change and if it doesn’t I don’t care what happens to it.

  • Ricky Mason

    What you don’t understand is that the industry is changing. YOU.CAN’T.STOP.FREE.MUSIC. Recordings are free now, period. What grooveshark has done and is doing is accepting that fact and trying to get ahead of the curve.

    Recording labels claw and fight until their dying breath…because, like you, they are closed minded and unable to see truth. The only people who pay for music nowadays are the old crowd who either haven’t accepted the idea of an MP3, or the itunes crowd who are too computer illiterate to understand other alternatives.

  • Ricky Mason

    I’ve never payed for any google software….

  • Swan

    It never ceases to amazes me how criminals try to use words to justify their crimes. Attention Grooveshark: stealing is stealing! Didn’t your parents teach you anything about right and wrong? Hopefully all the thieves will be sued and/or jailed into oblivion.

  • Swan

    P.S. if you find your music on Grooveshark and this is a violation of your rights, find a lawyer who will sue pro bono or on retained. SUE THEM!!!! Eventually they will be sued into bankruptcy. Repeat for every other site who is involved in stealing. Repeat for every software developer who makes software to facilitate stealing. BURY THEM IN LEGAL COSTS!

  • TJR

    The comment “But it’s musicians like you who want to keep us in slavery.” Is hyperbole, but you sounded like you needed it.

    But it is not “dumb” as you say. Because at the rate we are going, if musicians keep surrendering their rights, we might as well be slaves. because we will have no rights left. That is what a slave is. Someone with no rights.

    If you study history you will find that your argument about accepting piracy (That it is wrong, but that there is nothing we can do about it, so just accept it). Is the same as those who aknowledged that slavery in America was wrong and then argued: But that’s just the way the world is (and our economy requires it) so just accept it.

    I am not insulting you. I am showing how you are repeating history.

    You need to understand how the tech industries are building billion dollar empires off the work of muscians work, with no compensation to us in return.

    Making mone off the work of someone else with no compensation for it?

    Does that not sound even a little bit like slavery to you?

    And one last thing: I am not trying to “win” or “beat” the internet.

    We (musicians) are demanding that we be treated as fairly and as ethically as any other group that is in the cyber universe that we call the internet.

    We have every right to demand this.

    Just as people of color demanded to be treated as fairly as anyone else in the physical world.

    You need to start standing up for your rights, and stop laying down and let the tech industires walk all over us.

    Go to the trichordist blog page and start learning just how much we are being exploited and what you can do start changing things


  • TJR

    The major labels ARE trying to change: But to certain extent, you can’t blame the “Major Labels” for largely promoting this kind of “lowest Common denominator music” that you are complaining about. And you should be placing more of the blame on terrestrial radio. They need radio airplay in order to sell the music, of the artists on their labels. If radio will only play this kind of music then they kind of have little choice but to sign and promote this kind of music.

    But that doesn’t mean that they only sign lowest common denominator music (because they don’t). It’s just harder to sell it to radio and thus harder to sell it to the public.

    Also: In regards to your argument about “Not fitting the mold” and the “sorry excuses” that major labels are signing: Please consider the following quote:

    “Piracy has eliminated the incentive for investment in anything other than what can become the largest, most mainstream, major cross platform merchandising brands.”

    So The culture of free music (Piracy) has helped to create the very culture of lowest common denominator music that you are describing

    This quote is from the Trichordist blog page. You can read the entire article here:


    Your argument about CD’s having only only one or two good songs on it, was relevant about 15 years ago but is completely out of date now. No one is forcing anyone to buy anything. Whats more there are so many legal options now at your disposal. You can get a free spotify account and listen to an album in it’s entirety to make sure first before you buy the album or just single tracks (and unlike Grooveshark, Spotify will pay a royalty to the artist for each stream).

    Labels, just like you the independent musician, are a business. Just like a label, when you negotiate terms with anyone else you want as much for yourself as possible (and don’t try to tell you wouldn’t want as much as possible). Labels are just like you. They are going to try and get as much possible for themselves if you let them.

    I have no idea what Bieber makes from his label, but if he is getting ripped off it means that either he or the people representing him either didn’t negotiate their terms well, or they felt that the terms they did get where fair in return for the investment in promotion they would get (fame is a valuable commodity and maybe they thought the trade off was worth it for the money they could make in other areas like commercials etc).

    Lots of artists have negotiated great terms for themselves with major labels (Perry Farrel of Jane’s Addiction is a great example). And if you don’t like the terms, you can go elsewhere or form your own label and just do it yourself until you get the terms you feel you deserve.

    So now let’s talk about Grooveshark: Even if they are not letting people download music and only stream it. Their end goal is to be profitable. So they are going to use content that doesn’t belong to them to build their business on. That content will draw eyeballs to their site which will justify the sale of ad space and they will be ad supported.

    This is what pirate sites do. They have all this free content posted that isn’t theres and that they aren’t going to pay for. All that free content draws internet traffic, which makes them attractive to advertisers (and we are taking major corporate advertisers here). So they make billions without compensating the providers of the content that made their sites worth selling ads to in the first place.

    If Grooveshark is on the side of the artist they should do what Spotify is doing. Spotify is paying a royalty for every stream and linking to where you can purchase as well (A lot of musicians are complaining about the royalty rate that Spotify is paying, and that is another argument, but Spotify is a step in the right direction and Groovshark is a step in the wrong direction).

    Lastly your complaints about the music industry sound like you’ve been living in a box for the last ten or fifteen years.

    Are you aware that the vast majority of the labels now working in the music industry are either artists friendly Independent labels or the artist acting as their own label?

    Are you aware that 50% of this years Grammy Winners where independent artists? (this includes the major categories too).

    They are (We are) now a huge part of the “Music industry” What affects the Major Labels affects the rest of us.

    If want to be more than just a “broke ass musician”, you need to part of your industry and care about it. You need to stand up for your rights and work for a better world for all musicians.


  • TJR

    You are probably just a troll, but on the off chance that you aren’t (and especially since there might be young and inexperienced musicians reading your post): I am going to say the following


    YOU DON”T.

    We pay for music NOT because of computer illiteracy but because WE RESPECT MUSIC.

    WE KNOW that paying for it, supports the artists, musicians, and all the people involved in making that recording a reality…..But mostly because it is the MORALLY CORRECT THING TO DO.

    You may think that recordings are free, but making them is NOT. A pro studio is going to cost some
    serious money to either set up or hire (that expensive recording gear needs to be purchased by someone); a producer, an engineer or two; perhaps a separate mixing engineer; & a mastering engineer will all be needed & all want to be paid. Any artwork will need to be hired out for most recording artists. This is the bare minimum, unless all recording artists resort to
    using “garage band” software and doing it all themselves, in which case those really, really great sounding recordings everyone is used to hearing
    will become a thing of the past. This includes independent artists and independent labels.

    I will close by informing you that, you are NOT part of some great revolution that is setting music free.

    At best you are a dupe for the big tech industries and pirate sites that are making millions from the music of artists and not compensating them in return for their work.

    But mostly you are just a thief supporting thieves.

  • Youareafreetard

    After reading your comment, I want you to know that not only are you THIEF but you are also a Royal Stinking Twat. I am going to report you to the RIAA and in hopes that you will not only be sued, but also put in prison where you will be anally probed repeatedly so that you might gain some insight into what it feels like to be a musician who is screwed over by “I’m entitled” freetard’s like you….Here’s hoping your kidneys fail.

  • Cash Rothschild

    I spend my whole life learning an instrument, then 6, I buy hundreds or thousands of dollars buying studio equipment, buying time in studios, and it’s all just me giving to you in the end, I picked up the tab, and gave you my music, ultimately for free. So to survive, I will ride in a bus, with people I don’t like, who ultimately want to kill me, so I can wake up in an unknown town and play to people who have never heard my songs. Day in day out going to bed at 4 am, getting up at 6 am and at the end of 20 years, I have nothing to show for it, still nobody ever wanted to do the simple act of putting my songs on the radio THE RADIO! Instead I travel the world, playing my music that no one ever heard. FUCK YOU. It’s not that I am on strike, I’ve tried, but the music industry did not pick up my songs. You will go through live not knowing me or my music. What if we musicians go on strike? There is enough good music already made. They don’t need any new music. The Who and The Beatles are all people need. This is why we say that the music industry is dead. Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus will sign over all their rights to the record companies for the kiddes, or the next new music icon for the generation after them. Musicians aren’t even needed anymore, welcome to a dieing art. You are all just hobbyists now. “touring is a symptom of success” yes or a symptom of vanity for the unknowns. YOUR NOT MAKING ME TRAVEL, YOUR NOT MAKING ME PREFORM FOR PEOPLE THAT NEVER HEARD MY SONGS ASSHOLES. I am a RECORDING ARTIST not a TOURING ARTIST.

  • ApollosCurse

    Why did I read that exchange. TJR you have to be the dumbest fuck in the business. I read your forced out sentences and imagine your little brain trying so hard, trying so hard to not be dumb.

    But you are dumb.
    You are dumb and a musician. Don’t worry too much, these things often go together.

    Now, onto the point. I don’t mind that you are dumb. It happens, the only thing I request is that you don’t give any opinions. This is the new deal. You can’t open your mouth and pretend you have just as much right as others to the thinking realm.

    And don’t vote either. We need fewer people doing that.

  • w1z1k

    listen to beatles on grooveshark by searching for “beatales”

  • w1z1k

    download music from grooveshark by adding the google chrome extension “grooveshark downloader”

  • Zener

    If I go to a gallery to view paintings, should I pay the gallery or the artist for each painting I look at?… Or maybe just the ones I admire and stand and stare at for more than a minute or so?


    Worst Anology Ever: Those paintings where originally purchased by private individuals who later either donated or loaned the paintings to the museum…And most museums chage you an entrance fee….Worst Anology EVER!

  • TJR

    This has nothing to do with paintings in a museum: Grooveshark is making money off of the work of others and is not compensating them for their work. Grooveshark wants you to believe that music should be free so that they can continue to make money off of other peoples work. This is morally wrong

  • Anonymous

    You are basically saying that free music is overpriced… Sorry, but is not the way tech just works. As a techie geek and semi-pro musician, I can assure you that recording music at ANY level isn’t free. Distribution for any other product in the world (except internet opinions) isn’t free. Music isn’t free, it’s being exploited by EVERYONE, including the listeners. I’ve somewhat accepted that, but damned if I’m going to not correct people who kid themselves into thinking they deserve it for free.

  • Anonymous

    No, I never said free music is overpriced. I said music is overpriced. I mean come on… a dollar for a song that has code built in so you can’t burn it to a CD? That’s overpriced.

    Where has anyone said they “deserve” music? What people want is a content delivery system that works for the 21st century, while people like you are content trying to play out the 20th century model in your heads, eating the scraps off of the majors table, hoping they give you a deal.

    I’m perfectly fine paying 40-50 bucks a year to have access to a website like Grooveshark, and I’m perfectly fine with them paying you out royalties for how many hits your pulled towards their webpage. If you don’t get a big check in the mail, maybe it’s because you’re not that good of an artist, not because the industry is changing.

  • TJR

    I rarely get sarcastic on these kind of threads… But what planet are you living on?

    What decade are you living in?

    What meta reality are you living in?

    If you buy a digital song on itunes, Amazon, or CD baby (three of the largest legal digital distributors in the world) you can burn your purchase to CD anytime you want.

    There is NO copy protection on your purchase that will keep you from burning it to CD.

    If you use itunes you can burn any music you have to a playable CD disc no matter where you purchase or didn’t purchase the music.

    You sound like someone who has never done this in your life, but instead is going off the word of others who don’t know what they are talking about.

    Secondly: If Grooveshark where paying royalties for the music we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Grooveshark is NOT paying royalties. But they have no problem using music they don’t own to make money for themselves without compensating the artists whose music made their site worth using in the first place.

    The main reason Groovesharks CEO thinks recorded music should be free is so that he can make money without compensating those whose works are making him money.

  • Anonymous

    Nice try. You can burn digital downloads to any media you like. There’s no secret code that stops you. A dollar a song is CHEAPER than it was 35 years ago, and back then you had to buy the whole album, and sometimes you didn’t even want half the songs, but the average album cost in 1983 was about $12.99 and contained 8-10 songs. You do the math.

    I don’t disagree that the record companies got greedy, which is why most people go to indy labels or DIY their careers. I am semi-pro, not pro. I don’t know how you came to the conclusion that I don’t get good checks in the mail or that I’m not very good haha. I’m actually very happy exactly where I’m at, solely because I lived and worked through the changes that reformed (and still reform) the industry. Luckily for me, publishing / performing consumer-based popular music is only one way to make money with music.. There’s several other ways for smart songwriters to make great money that don’t involve entitled millennials like the owner of Grooveshark using it for their own profits without paying.

    Maybe you will pay a little for a song, maybe you won’t. Maybe you think some songs are worth more than others. What would you have us do- Let you decide how much you want to pay for it? Works for Radiohead, not so much for others. You gotta love how much free press and already being famous does for stunts like that.

  • Anonymous

    It will always make me scratch my head a bit when people spend their own money to get an artist’s music out there, without the artist paying a single penny for that medium, and then to see the artist complain about this service that is delivering his music to people who might not have otherwise heard it. You sound like a spoiled little cunt, man. Get with the program.

    You don’t work to make him money. I do. I pay him to provide me with a service you otherwise would not have. Do you understand that? He pays to keep his servers up and running, he pays his employees that do sift through their uploads to take down panzy ass artist’s songs like yourself. He does pay for people to advertise his business and host festivals, which also helps your music if you’re smart enough to let him use your music. He does plenty for you, and you make music for him. How about you look at this as a beneficial business opportunity instead of bitching that you’re not getting more money… and really… since you’re bitching.. you’re music probably isn’t that good anyways.

  • Youareafreetard

    Hey Beweazel. You sound like a plant for Sam Tarantino

    You need to get your nose out of his butt!

  • Anonymous

    Who is Sam Tarantino? And why would he plant anyone here? And if you think someone is paying someone to waste time on the internet, that must mean you think I made some good points… so…. thank you? Hah.

    I’m passionate about this stuff. If you are equally as passionate about your side, who about you try a little harder rebutting my points instead of being some paranoid tin hat nutter who just says someone hired me to have the opinions I have…. lol…. the idea of that cracks me up.