Standing Next To The Grooveshark Sales Funnel
Look. You can scratch, claw, scream, and bitch about Grooveshark and services like it all you want, but fans don't care. I'm not saying its morally correct, but the average fan doesn't care if artists are getting paid for streams. Fans don't care if the labels make money off Grooveshark. Most of all, fans don't care if Grooveshark makes money off of Grooveshark. They want to stream music – for free – and don't care where they do it. Whatever site lets them do what they want to do is where they'll go. They don't read the news. They don't even know what being DMCA compliant means. All they want is the ability to play some songs and get on with their day. Eventually, they'll get what they want. It's just a matter of time.
If Grooveshark gets shutdown, as some have suggested might happen to them, none of their users are going to wake up that day and think about how much they missed purchasing songs from iTunes. A majority of the songs that they stored on their profiles aren't songs that they want. They aren't songs that they will turn around and purchase and put on their iPods for a $1 the moment they're denied access to them. They're songs that the moment they can't hear them, they'll ask a tech savvy friend where else they can. Then they'll just listen to them on there.
Tech Savvy Friend
Everyone from age 16 to 24 knows someone that's hip to the latest thing and that friend isn't going tell him or her that they're a soulless asshole for stealing music or that through their behavior they're undermining the production of creative works.
No. They'll tell them where to get their music and even if they won't – someone else will. How else did Grooveshark get popular? Do you think it's because kids in high school are suddenly privy to typing "free music streaming" in Google and Grooveshark topped the list? Likely, someone told them about it and they went there. Once there, all of those MP3s that they downloaded before seemed like a pretty stupid idea. All they wanted was the ability to hear a few specific songs while doing stuff on their computer and move on. They weren't trying to thwart the corporate record labels or protesting that the Internet should be free and open.
Nope. They just want to stream some songs and Grooveshark lets them do that.
Not everyone downloads music for the sake of getting it for free. There are people who desire to do a few specific things and once they have the ability to do them without utilizing less the legal means, they'll sign-up for Grooveshark and stream their songs. This is why Grooveshark is getting popular. Few years back, I got a Grooveshark account. I had a tech savvy friend. He told me about Grooveshark.
Songs Like Bookmarkers
At this point, I have upwards of 300 songs on Grooveshark. They fulfill a different chasm in my music collection. They're like bookmarkers. I like these songs. I like the artists. But I'm sorry, like many Grooveshark users, I don't desire to purchase them. It's nothing personal. I do believe in supporting artists. I understand that if I really loved the songs that I should purchase them and support the artist that created them. However, I value them to the extent to which I value songs that I've given "Thumbs Up" to on Pandora or "Loved" on Slacker. They're a part of my music collection in a difference sense. They operate in the void. Grooveshark is like purgatory; it's the space between the unknown and my music collection. I don't know how long the songs will rest there before they make it onto my iPod.
However, if I was a little younger and didn't have an iPod (and quite obviously, I wasn't a music industry writer), I might find a way to get those 300 songs on my computer. But since I have Grooveshark, there's no need for that. In my terms, this is equivalent of standing next to the sales funnel. All Grooveshark users can be targeted with marketing. But if they had resorted to getting their songs through a different means, like LimeWire Pirate Edition, they're off your radar. You've got no idea who they are. Obviously Grooveshark users like the service because it's only getting more popular. If you shut the site down and turn those users away, the next thing they stand next to won't be a sales funnel. It will be the next thing.
Users will migrate to the next thing. Nothing changes. They'll still want to stream. - Kyle Bylin