I’ve always considered the Grooveshark web app’s UI to be quite amazing, so I was wary when I was granted preview access to the service’s new look, which the startup is presenting publicly for the first time today (at 12 AM EST). Fortunately, they somehow managed to make it even more awesome than it already was, and the makeover was more than a new lick of paint as it also included a number of performance tweaks to make it run smoother.
In case you’re not familiar with Grooveshark: it’s a great web-based music search, play and management tool that’s been around since April last year. You can use the app to instantly look for, share and listen to music, and there’s the quintessential social component that allows you to interact with people from its community and discover new music from others’ choices.
With the new look, Grooveshark’s design is now more desktop client-like (think Spotify, Deezer or Imeem), which in my opinion is a good thing. The overall design and the new navigation bar on the side make for a much smoother user experience, and you can switch themes to make the app fit your mood or resize the menus to fit your screen.
But the back-end tweaks that have increased the speed of the application are what’s making me seriously considering switching to Grooveshark for most of my online music needs. Playback between tunes is now seamless, with no more lag in between tracks when you’ve added multiple ones to a playlist. Switching between menu items and tabs is as fast as I consider possible inside a browser. In short: great new design combined with an excellent user experience.
Grooveshark is still struggling to get all major music industry players involved for the ‘legalization’ of its vast content library, which is in large part put together by avid users uploading music files straight from their hard drives. So far, the only one it has signed up is EMI and that was after the company sued Grooveshark over copyright infringement.