Grooveshark.com is an incredibly popular music streaming website/service that caters to all tastes. How popular is it? Depending on your country, it could be one the 100 most popular websites (as it is in Argentina), and worldwide, Grooveshark is #594, according to Alexa.com, a website ranking service. Grooveshark makes it possible to search for, and then stream, millions of different songs. One thing you can’t do, or at least not easily, is download those songs.
Linux users, however, using gSharkDown, can now both stream and download music, straight from their desktop. To use gSharkDown, you’ll first want to head over to its entry at gnomefiles.org, located here.
You’ll find both .deb installers for Debian/Ubuntu derivatives, as well as a standard source archive.
For our example, we’ll use the Debian/Ubuntu installer. Once downloaded, simply right-click and choose the appropriate package installer. We’re using GDebi, although you can use the Ubuntu Software Center or dpkg (from the Terminal), if you want.
Once installed, you’ll find gSharkDown in the Internet section of your Applications menu.
When launched, you’ll see an empty window, with two side-by-side sections, and a toolbar, which includes a search bar.
Simply enter in the name of the performer, band or song you wish to listen to or download, and you’ll quickly see the results listed.
To download a song, highlight it, then click the down arrow (located beside the information icon, which is immediately beside the search box).
The download will begin, and your progress will be shown in the lower right portion of the window. If you attempt to download multiple items, be aware that the downloads will happen simultaneously, so depending on your Internet connection, this could severely slow down the download speeds of individual songs, as well as affect your ability to stream music.
Note: you can set the download folder, as well as whether to automatically quit gSharkDown after downloads are complete, and whether or not to show a notification bubble on track change, in the preferences.
Of course, gSharkDown isn’t only about downloading music; it can also be used as a basic Grooveshark player. To add a song to your playlist (located on the right), highlight the song you want to listen to in the search results, then click the “+” icon, the far-left icon located below the playlist. You can add as many songs as you wish, and even perform new searches, so you don’t have to add only songs by a particular performer to your playlist.
When you’re ready, click the Play button in the top toolbar to begin listening. Again, if you’ve checked the setting in the preferences, you can hide gSharkDown using its panel icon (which also gives you basic control over gSharkDown), then hide its main window, while still receiving pop-up notifications at each track change.
And that’s pretty much it. Using gSharkDown is incredibly simple, and it’s nice that it acts as a player as well as a downloader. It isn’t perfect, though. At the moment, playlists are remembered between sessions, which is nice, but the only way to clear a playlist is to highlight each song individually and then click the red delete button located below the playlist.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to select multiple playlist items at once. Similarly, it would be nice if songs to be downloaded were placed in a queue, so that songs were downloaded sequentially, instead of all at once. Still, gSharkDown is a very nice program. It’s fast, easy to understand, and works the way you’d expect a player like this to work.