When you have the temerity to live in Hong Kong (or some other place situated stubbornly outside of the UK), trying to listen to free music online—via things like Spotify—has always been a ball-ache par excellence (i.e. impossible). And now that Last.fm has decided to start charging its users (or perhaps that should be ‘customers’) to use its service, the opportunity to spaff away great chunks of the working day to music has been limited to YouTube, which, when it comes to things like playlists, albums or sound quality, is about as useful as a marzipan dildo (to borrow a simile from Malcolm Tucker).
Enter the terribly named (but wonderful) Grooveshark.
Like all these things, I’m way behind the curve: it’s been going since 2009, has 400,000 users a month, and has already been involved in several high-profile copyright infringement cases (don’t go there looking for Pink Floyd, for instance). But working on the basis that there are probably (or possibly) people less clued-up than me, I thought it was worth a quick mention.
This is why I like it: it has an impressive catalogue of songs (see, for example, this and this), you can queue stuff up for weeks on end, and—if you use Firefox and download the Adblock Plus add-on—hardly any advertisements to contend with. (There aren’t any of those right-into-your-bloody-ear adverts in-between tracks either, which, from memory, there are on Spotify.)
With all these advantages to be had, I’m sure that somebody, somewhere is being totally screwed by Grooveshark, and like usual, it’s probably the smallest artists who take the biggest hit, but (I think, at least) it has to be better than raiding Pirate Bay or Mediafire. Hardly a ringing endorsement, I realise, but you can make up your own stupid minds.