My brother is probably not too excited that 120 Javelin songs are currently being streamed for free by Grooveshark, which does not pay him or his label for that music, the way most other large streaming services do.
Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino told Evolver.fm that recorded music should be free, just like information used to want to be. Apparently, it’s just the silly record labels who insist on living in the past and getting paid, because money is just so last century. Tell that to Grooveshark’s New York-based employees, most of whom were involved in creating advertisements for the site when we visited its office, from which Grooveshark earns its revenue, passing a share of that on to labels that have agreed to let Grooveshark stream their music, which is almost none of them, EMI having been a notable exception — and that ended in bitter acrimony.
Anyway, Grooveshark took an admirable step today in the direction of paying artists for the countless hours they spend on their craft, by implementing Flattr’s social micropayments across the site. Anyone listening to Grooveshark can now decide to pay that artist directly.
Sure enough, there’s the little Flattr button on Javelin’s Grooveshark page (to clarify, Javelin does not know I am writing this article, and I am unaware of their stance on Grooveshark). To pay them for the music I’m listening to right now, I created a Flattr account in about five minutes and put five Euro in it. Flattr will now count every time I click on a Flattr button across the entire internet. At the end of each month (you can set up recurring payments), it will split up my money among the people whose buttons I have clicked — so if I only click Javelin’s button, only they get the money. Or, I can spread my Flattr loot among whatever artists I listen to on Grooveshark. Finally!
Flattr is using MusicBrainz to identify these artists, who need to sign up for Flattr accounts if they want their cash. Until they do, their money will be waiting for them, according to flattr’s FAQ.
“We’re thrilled about it,” said our pal Martin Thörnkvist, now of Flattr business development, via Facebook. “[It's] awesome that you can flattr your favourite artist in the environment you actually listen to them in, and be sure that 90 percent of what you pay goes directly to the artist.”
It would be nice if Grooveshark were able to sign licenses for all the millions of songs on its service — or at least gave artists the option to block their tunes. After all, if it can find them in order to pay them via MusicBrainz and Flattr, can’t it also find them in order to keep their songs off the service? (Artists can in fact force Grooveshark to block their music from being uploaded by its users, actually — but only if their name starts with “B” and ends with “eatles.”)
Grooveshark’s site-wide Flattr integration is a step in the right direction, and a gesture of good faith towards the artist community the company professes to care about. If you’re one of those music fans who says they don’t pay for music because record labels and technology companies steal all the money anyway, this is your chance to rectify that situation. Listen to as much as you want on Grooveshark, put $10 per month in your Flattr account (the same price as Spotify Premium), activate that 30-second “Listen with Flattr” feature, and you’re good to go.
According to Thörnkvist, Flattr plans more along the lines of the optional “Flattr after 30 seconds of Grooveshark listening” feature: flattring whenever you favorite a tweet, like an Instagram photo, and so on, as part of its quest to become the standard for micro-payments to artists across the internet.
More on Grooveshark:
- Grooveshark ‘Hacked?’ Chrome Extension Downloads MP3s for Free
- Grooveshark vs. Google: The Plot Thickens
- Someone Is Lying to Us: Grooveshark or Google
- Apparent Grooveshark Downloader Developer Wants Us to Stop Writing About Grooveshark Downloader
More on Flattr: