Grooveshark released a major update to its popular streaming music service with a slew of new features and changes. We jumped into the waters to play around with the bigger, badder shark and see how it compared to similar alternatives.
The first thing you'll notice is a sleeker, cleaner layout. The universal sidebar on the left has been removed and consolidated into the My Music option. We found this change to be welcoming, as it not only frees up space, but also brings the spotlight to the navigation changes. Grooveshark has organized navigation and exploration into four main categories: Search, Explore, My Music, and Community.
Search still retains the simple search bar and full-screen advertisement. Despite the size, Grooveshark's implementation of advertisements as a wallpaper (versus a pop-up or static banner) looked slick and unobtrusive. Unfortunately, Grooveshark still pulled duplicate results from user uploads and we hope that the service will eventually clean up and defragment these titles.
The new Explore section is Grooveshark's approach to helping users discover new music in an eye-pleasing and functional way. New or popular hits and albums are showcased with cover art and genre tags. The layout and color scheme might look a bit familiar to those who've used Google Music, but Grooveshark is pushing to stand out with its social and exploration tools. Again, these are features that aren't revolutionary or unique, but Grooveshark has managed to create its own tight and intuitive flow.
One of the coolest additions is actually Grooveshark's least obvious: When searching for music, users can quickly add songs to their playlist simply by dragging and dropping. Once a user starts dragging their entry, a black sidebar will slide out on the right and give users quick access to their playlists and other sharing options.
In addition to support for standard social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc., Grooveshark's newly redesigned Community section takes some elements from their previous version while adding some subtle new features. Users can still check to see what their friends are listening to and also opt in to their playlists. Grooveshark has also created artist pages with similar functions in order to nurture a more interactive environment for artists and fans. However, this is still a relatively in its early stages.
Despite the abundance of available streaming services, Grooveshark manages to hold a fresh and relevant experience for music lovers. Check out the new look and feel and let us know if it tops your player of choice.