Streaming Music Showdown: Grooveshark


Sometimes you want complete control over your music, picking the specific artists and songs you hear. Sometimes you’d rather just flip on the radio to a good station and let someone else dictate what you hear. Still other times you might want a combination of both. Grooveshark, currently available as a “Sneak Peek” for VIP subscribers only, is a music streaming app that provides the best of both worlds, though it doesn’t quite get each perfect.

Grooveshark is divided into three panes: one where you find the music, one where you organize the music in playlists, and one where you control the music that is currently playing. Getting started is simple, just enter the name of a song or artist you wish to search for. A list of results will appear where you can pick exactly what you wanted (or the closest match). Once you highlight a song you will get a list of several options. Play the song, queue the song to play later without interrupting the current song, add it to a playlist, or even cache the song for offline playback.


One of the coolest things about Grooveshark is the control it gives you over deciding how the music you hear gets played. If you have built up an impressive queue of tunes or created several playlists, you can simply play them back exactly how you have them. You can rearrange the order of songs in playlists, but lacking is any sort of random play or repeat play function on the Now Playing screen. Grooveshark is at its strongest when playing back custom lists, with a huge selection of music sure to cover anything you might want to find. A few artists did not show up when I searched for them, but Grooveshark is continually adding new music so this wasn’t too much of an issue for me. Offline caching of entire playlists is a great bonus.

The other way you can use Grooveshark is by selecting a song or artist and allowing Grooveshark to create a custom “radio” station for you. On this front, I wasn’t particularly impressed compared to some of the other streaming music services that have a similar function. Once you select a song and turn on “Radio” mode in the Now Playing screen, Grooveshark will automatically queue up the next tune, but I must say their matching process was lacking. A playlist generated around Megafaun gave me three Megafaun songs, the out-of-left-field match of Ashley Tisdale from High School Musical (look up Megafaun and tell me how in the world Ashley Tisdale sounds remotely like them), and then another Megafaun track before informing me they had no more suggestions for my playlist.


The one redeeming factor about the radio mode is that it keeps a running list of every track that has been heard so far and tells you what is coming next. This way, if you do hear an artist or song that you like you can go back at a later point in time, select the song, and add it to a playlist or cache it for offline playback. An additional cool feature is the ability to combine your pre-made playlists with the radio mode to create a station that continues to play matched selections long after your playlist has expired. I didn’t do much testing here, but I get the feeling stations based around multiple songs and artists will turn out stronger in Grooveshark than those based around a single artist.

Other than that, Grooveshark doesn’t offer much more in the way of features. You can’t grab detailed song or artist info directly in the app, there is no option to purchase any of the musc you hear, and the only options you are given are for setting the offline cache size and turning on the radio function by default. The app is only in Beta, but it is pretty buggy on my Droid, force-quitting often and hanging between screens. You can’t choose the quality of the music to help get a better stream in areas with poor reception, but the quality isn’t all that great to begin with. Most of the songs had a heavy mid-range that made them sound muddy. It wasn’t the worst streaming quality I have heard, there are many far worse, but it could stand to be improved.

The Pros:

  • Best-of-both-worlds combination of custom playlists and intelligent playlist streaming
  • Song and playlist caching for offline playback
  • Ability to revisit previously played songs from intelligently-generated playlists
  • Large selection of music

The Cons:

  • Playlists generated were short and contained some questionable matches
  • Lacking in features such as the ability to purchase music or get detailed artist info
  • Sound quality was a bit muddy
  • Limited playback controls (no random or repeat play)

The Bottom Line: Grooveshark is a great app if you want the best of both streaming intelligently-matched playlists and completely custom playlists from a large selection of music. If you are a Grooveshark user who already has saved playlists through the Grooveshark website (which I imagine is where the majority of playlist creation would take place, with playlists synced between the website and app), this app will be just the ticket for you. Users looking for a fresh start on a streaming service might look elsewhere, especially since the Grooveshark app is currently only available for those paying a $3 per month subscription fee.


This article is part of a series on music streaming apps for Android. Each day I will be reviewing a different streaming app to help separate the must-have music players from the rest.

Other articles in this series: Pandora,, UMusic, Slacker Radio

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Kevin Krause
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  1. In my oponion, this app leaves a lot to be desired. The Sound quality is horrible and I would like the ability to search for artist/albums and show all songs on the album. I am hoping that MOG can do a better job.

  2. great review as usual Kevin, are there still more streaming apps ? i doubt it

  3. there is one more app…
    it is called XiiaLive Lite
    formerly known as DroidLive

  4. What headphones/output were you using to test the audio?

    ‘Cause I don’t have an issue with the sound quality (compared to Pandora/Slacker) when using Grooveshark on my Tour… And that’s even when using Apple headphones. I just tested it with my Sennheiser’s and it’s fine.

    I mean, don’t expect studio quality if you’re rocking the built in speakers or a pair of Skullcandy…and please don’t say you use Bose.

  5. Nice review Kevin, I wasn’t aware that the app wasn’t really up to snuff yet. Hopefully they fix up the issues in the future so I don’t have to pay $7 a month for something like MOG (I’m cheap like that lol).

  6. Gonna be reviewing Spotify? Fantastic program and app!

  7. I think that Grooveshark uses music found on the internet, plus whatever you upload from your own collection for playback. Don’t think this will be around long.

    I have a Rhapsody Premier subscription which is just $10 a month now. Sound quality is great, the app is stable and never force closes for me. The interface could be better and I’ll probably check out both MOG and Spotify when they launch.

    For now though, Rhapsody is the best streaming service (no offline playback as of right now).

  8. Psonar is another worth checking out.

    It’s a free cloud-based solution which is focused on allowing users to do more with music that they own, unlike streaming services where you effectively ‘rent’ the music as long as you continue to subscribe (and hope that the music doesn’t get pulled by the copyright owner.)

    With Psonar you can upload the music you own to the cloud, so it’s accessible everywhere, from any internet-connected device.

    You can also search and listen to 30 second clips of any other track uploaded to the cloud and buy that music if you like.

    Psonar also provides web-based iTunes-style management so that you can drag and drop tracks to any device that you can connect to a PC via USB. This enables you can have your music on your device when that’s best, but also in the cloud. This means it is great for backup:

    So – it’s perfect if you love your old MP3 player, want to keep your music on an inexpensive memory stick or for when you don’t have an internet connection and thus offers you the best of both worlds.

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