Grooveshark on Tuesday released a mobile app for Palm OS, bringing the experience of mobile on-demand music to Palm phones like the Pre, Pre Plus, and the Pixi for the first time. The Palm app joins Grooveshark Mobile versions for Android and BlackBerry (it doesn't work on the Storm), both of which were quietly released in early January.
If you're not familiar with Grooveshark, the concept is similar to Rhapsody or Spotify (which is not available in the U.S. yet): type in the name of just about any song, album, or artist, and you'll get a list of playable streaming songs that match your search results. You can also create and share playlists, add songs to your current queue, and rearrange the order of songs. Grooveshark's strength is that users upload the content directly to its servers, which gives it a bigger selection than competing services that license content directly from copyright owners--think of it more like a peer-to-peer service. This approach has occasionally landed the company in legal hot water, but so far Grooveshark has managed to strike a licensing deal with record label EMI, and hopefully its latest dispute with Universal will also be resolved.
The Web site is free, but to use the mobile apps you'll need a premium subscription, which currently costs $3 per month and also gives you an ad-free version of the Web site. The Palm version of Grooveshark Mobile differs slightly from the other two versions: there's no radio function, which plays songs Grooveshark thinks you'll like based on frequently played or currently playing songs--sort of like Pandora or Slacker. There's also a way to search for other users' playlists, but currently you can't share them directly with other named users. This playlist search feature is a great way to discover new music that fits into a particular mood. For instance, if you search for playlists using the word "metal," you might find other users' playlists with that word in the title, each containing a bunch of songs you might never have heard before.
I talked to the company Monday, and it's excited about having one of only about 100 music apps in the Palm store and hopes that Grooveshark will give Palm fans--the few, the proud--another reason to evangelize the platform. Of course, there are still a couple major platforms left out, but I tested an early version of the iPhone app last August and the Grooveshark page says it's "coming soon," so keep your fingers crossed.
Correction at 11:38 PST Feb. 23: This post incorrectly stated the number of apps available for Palm OS--in fact, there are far more than 1,000 available. Grooveshark Mobile is one of about 100 music-related apps for Palm OS.