You'd be forgiven if you forget that there are other options when it comes to music streaming out there, with all the attention Spotify is getting. One player that is decidedly lower key yet enjoying quite a lot of popularity with users is Grooveshark.The music service has just gotten a big revamp, not so much a visual one, though there are plenty of changes in that department, but mostly focused on the social aspects of listening and discovering music.
It's hard to say if that's a winning strategy, building social tools on your own tends to be somewhat risky in a world dominated by Facebook, but it could pay off. And Facebook integration is there of course.
Grooveshark users will notice the new design and the changes as soon as they load the site. They'll also get a tour of the new stuff.
The visual changes are quite nice. The design has only been slightly updated, but the graphic elements that have changed, have done so for the better.
The layout has changed somewhat, the big new thing being the top toolbar with the Search, Explore, My Music and Community sections. Overall, the new Grooveshark looks better, but no one is going to be confused by the changes.
But under the surface, some of the changes and new features are a bit more complex. The Explore section aims to make it easier to discover new music and artists. The Featured and the Popular tabs offer two options in this direction.
Another interesting addition are artist pages. For now, they offer a look at activity around the particular artist, along with popular songs and so on. But the plan is to expand this and enable artists to take over their page, sell merchandise, announced events and concerts and so on.
That's somewhat similar to what MySpace Music used to do and to what SoundCloud enables for many artists. And there's clearly a need for a service like this, to enable musicians to engage with fans but keep the focus on the music. Again, it remains to be seen whether Grooveshark will be able to fulfil that role.