Here’s an interesting idea. Offer DRM-free downloads at 99 cents per track and pay regular users to upload the files in their music collection. Sell those tracks and split the profits with the record label, the user who uploaded the tracks, and keep a little for yourself.
Such is Grooveshark, a mostly browser-based music service built by a group of college students in Florida. At first glance, I wasn’t quite sure about the legality of a system like this but Grooveshark is paying the labels and who am I, Judge Judy?
Here’s a little bit more about how the service works, written in the bight-eyed optimistic style that makes me long for my college years:
“[Grooveshark] is an attempt by a team of enterprising college students to drastically change the music landscape. For every song sold in our network, we first pay the label (or artist), then we pay you, then we pay ourselves. All of the profits from our songs are split with the user 50 / 50, so that we can build this community together. By compensating users and giving them an enriching value-laden experience, we truly believe that we can cure the illegal download issue that has over-swept the world.”
Go for it, kids! Other cool features include the ability to stream ANY available song — full length and free of charge, the ability to access your music collection from different computers, a social networking component, and opportunities for independent bands to upload their own music.
Looks pretty nice on paper. I’ll play around with it for a little while and see if it’s as cool as it sounds.