Grooveshark Asks Users to Subscribe, Or Else, Unskippable Ads

Here’s an interesting new approach to using ads to generate website capital; I wonder if this business model will catch on?

There is nothing wrong with financing a service or website with advertisement. There will always be users who will use ad blockers or other scripts to get rid of those ads, but the majority will understand that these are what pay the bills and keep the site going. The wrong kind of advertisement on a site can have an ill-effect on the site’s reputation. The wrong kind in this regard refers both to what the ads try to sell, their placement, or type.

Grooveshark, ever since it has been introduced in 2007,  monetized the site with ads and subscriptions. Ads were displayed as banners on the page, and subscriptions for Grooveshark Plus or Grooveshark Anywhere got rid of them, and added new features to the music streaming service at the same time.  This includes access to the Grooveshark desktop app, or unlimited Grooveshark access on the mobile app.

Grooveshark Changes

Matthew A. Hansen was one of the first Grooveshark users who reported about a more aggressive monetization strategy on Grooveshark. According to his information, Grooveshark displayed a Keep the music going screen to him which explained that operating the service costs money, and that Grooveshark because of this is asking for support.

keep the music going

Options available here were to pay money for an uninterrupted experience, or select the $0 option to continue the free ride. Matthew did select the free option, which lead to a video engagement ad that was shown to him. This was a 40 second YouTube video that started to play right away. While pausing and skipping is possible, a message is displayed in this case that is explaining that credits are not given if the video is not watched from the beginning to the end.

grooveshark video ad

We have detected that you have tried to skip part of the video. You will not get credit if you skip around the video. Please watch the video from the beginning through the end

It appears that Grooveshark is rolling out a credit-based system for free users of the service. It is not really clear how much credits users get when they watch the video, and for how long they can listen to music on Grooveshark with a credit.

Watching a single video gives credits that are good for listening to four hours of music on the Grooveshark website.

I tried to get the video ad to be displayed on Grooveshark for the better half of an hour and did not succeed. This could mean a number of things, like that it is still being rolled out to all users, that it is only active for registered users, or that you need to listen more than that to see the ad.

I do not think that $2 for a month of music is too much to ask for on the other hand, even with all the free alternatives available on today’s Internet.  Forcing ads on users on the other hand is not the way to go forward. Many will probably leave Grooveshark for other services instead of paying up for uninterrupted music on the site.

What’s your take on this?

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