NEW YORK: Digital music service Grooveshark has appointed James Pearson as its first EVP of corporate communications as it looks to "eliminate misconceptions."
Pearson, who is based in the New York office, reports to Grooveshark CEO and cofounder Sam Tarantino. He joined the company on Monday.
Some of Pearson’s responsibilities include educating the sector about Grooveshark’s ad-funded music streaming business model and building awareness among the media and music industry about the brand’s community of users.
It has been a turbulent few years for Grooveshark, which from 2011 through 2012 was kicked out of Google and Apple’s app stores and faced a legal battle with four major record labels over alleged copyright violations.
Grooveshark has since settled out of court with EMI Music Publishing and made a licensing pact with Sony/ATV.
"That is a large part of why I am here," said Pearson. "There have been a lot of hurdles in building a new model when under attack and when the sector is being defined at the same time as being built."
He added that he has been brought on "to eliminate the misconceptions and shine a light on the successes."
One of the biggest misunderstandings Grooveshark faces is that digital music services do not pay sufficient royalties to artists, explained Pearson. He said that Grooveshark’s remit when it started was to help musicians, and now it is "bridging fans and artists"
Grooveshark, which claims to have 30 million monthly users, faces rivalry from Spotify, Pandora, and more recently Apple with its acquisition of Beats Electronics.
Pearson declined to comment on Apple’s acquisition, but said it showed that "digital music is on the rise due to activity in the sector."