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5 Questions with Sam Tarantino, CEO of Grooveshark

July 1, 2014

The pioneering music streaming site Grooveshark is still swimming after all these years. First launched in 2006, Grooveshark is continuing to inspire its community of artists and music lovers – and creating new advertising offerings to connect brands with relevant audiences via online radio. We recently caught up with CEO Sam Tarantino to learn more about what makes the Grooveshark community tick and how the platform has been working with marketers as of late.

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Grooveshark was one of the pioneers of streaming music. What’s the most significant way your platform has evolved over the past several years?

When we launched nearly a decade ago, Grooveshark was instrumental in bringing streaming search, discovery and play into the mainstream. Since then, the platform has evolved to provide users with the tools they need to curate and share custom radio broadcasts. Our commitment is to building the first truly social radio community.

Today, Grooveshark is a leading digital music distribution platform for creators, and a music discovery tool for fans. Signed artists and self-published musicians alike leverage Grooveshark daily to promote their work and share their music with the world. Our unique proposition to listeners is that we have built a true community of radio tastemakers who drive the dissemination of content – and on the flip side, we command a passionate and talented base of artists who in turn promote their work to that crowd.

What makes the Grooveshark community so unique?

The Grooveshark listener community is built from tastemakers (curators), artists (creators) and fans – in a joint and unique proposition for success. Millennials want communities. Music evangelists want communities. Bands want communities. To us, community is the new common denominator of engagement loyalty from day one. We see Grooveshark as the next audio extension of Vine, YouTube, Instagram and other community models based on engaging content.

What are some of the biggest differentiators between Grooveshark and other music streaming services? 

From a user standpoint, the ability to empower creators is one of Grooveshark’s core differentiators. Grooveshark is the only international platform for creating radio communities and offers the technology needed to share and recommend songs and artists anywhere in the world to curate custom Internet radio stations. It is one of the largest international music services available with nearly 30 million monthly unique visitors.

Our biggest differentiators when it comes to branding opportunities are Grooveshark Broadcast (more on that below), access to emerging talent and mobile opportunities.

  • Broadcast gives any brand the ability to instantaneously create a live radio station. As a result, it’s become a valuable platform for a brand’s content and experiences.
  • Moreover, Grooveshark is an open platform where artists can upload content and share to the world (similar to YouTube). We work with up-and-coming artists by providing the tools, resources and exposure to help them grow and get discovered. In this capacity, we’re trend-spotters that have access to these emerging artists for brand campaigns.
  • Finally, our mobile HTML5 web app is the only free, on-demand music streaming service with an advertiser solution.

Can you tell us more about Grooveshark Broadcast?

With Grooveshark Broadcast, we wanted to create ways to increase music discovery and search. This aligns with our focus on building a community and, ultimately, organically growing the long tail of music search and discovery.

With Broadcast, we’ve worked with our listeners to create an evolved music discovery entity that allows users to share what they are listening to with fellow music lovers in real-time, effectively turning curators into self-made DJs. The result creates stronger connections among the creators, curators and music fans that make up our community.

Can you share some recent examples of marketer partnerships with Grooveshark?

Grooveshark recently executed a multi-platform campaign that centered on communicating TGI Fridays’ revitalized menu both online, on mobile and at top music festivals across the country. In May, the restaurant launched a fleet of custom branded TGI Friday’s food trucks across the country to various consumer events that offered people samples of the revamped menu.

The focal point of the Grooveshark campaign was to promote these stops throughout the summer. This was accomplished through a weekly Branded Broadcast. “Summer of Fridays” radio went on air every Friday (naturally) for eight hours, playing today’s best music. Promoted heavily on Grooveshark, and across social media, the broadcast became a viral hit, and to date has generated more than 100K plays (our equivalent of video views on YouTube) and has attracted hundreds of followers. In addition to the Branded Broadcast, Grooveshark added to the tour stops by securing custom integrations at three major music festivals: Boston Calling, Soundset and Forecastle.

Another example was our recently executed custom campaign for adidas NEO to promote its new Selena Gomez collection. Targeting females 12 to 19, we built a custom Homepage Takeover that drove interaction and social sharing. Users would activate the unit, expanding the masthead to reveal a short quiz asking them to select their favorite Selena songs to generate an individualized adidas NEO outfit. Users would then be prompted to share their results across social media, and organic CTAs would then drive users to product pages where they could purchase their outfits.

Cover photo via Grooveshark