Grooveshark has tuned up a new online radio station app that will let you create your own customized radio stations without ticking off the record companies.
Due out in January, the new Broadcasts app will let you create and access custom radio stations and text with fellow users as you listen to your favorite tunes, Grooveshark said on Monday, confirming a story by The Wall Street Journal. Designed for iOS and Android users, the app will cost 99 cents a month and be commercial-free. The online stations will be created directly by users rather than generated by Grooveshark.
But for Grooveshark, one of the goals behind the new app is to offer a service that will keep it out of the courts. Grooveshark currently offers websites both for PCs and mobile devices in which users can search for and stream an unlimited number of songs produced by major record labels. That service has after several record labels argued that Grooveshark lacked the necessary rights to upload the copyrighted songs.
In September, a New York federal judge ruled that Grooveshark's co-founders had uploaded almost 6,000 songs for which they had no licenses and that the two men had destroyed evidence of the uploads, the Journal said. Grooveshark also has tried to win over mobile users with dedicated and apps for its streaming service, but both of those apps were taken down following complaints from the record labels.
So how will Grooveshark avoid legal problems with Broadcasts?
Instead of negotiating with each record company separately, Grooveshark will pay government-mandated royalty rates, the Journal said. That's the same process used by Pandora to serve as a catch-all for all the songs that users can legally access.
Of course, Grooveshark also hopes to make some money off the app. Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino told the Journal that the app is cheap but costs just enough to bring in some actual sales if enough people buy it. Broadcasts could potentially challenge Pandora, especially with the chat feature and commercial-free bonus. But Grooveshark would have a ways to catch up as it has around 30 million users, while Pandora has around 77 million.