In an article in the New York Times a few months ago, we asked the question, “Why was Grooveshark shut down?” This question was answered by two things: the company was sued by the record companies and it had unlicensed music in its database. Secondly, while Grooveshark’s library was largely a crowdsourced product, some employees also uploaded tracks. Finally, Grooveshark sold subscriptions to users who wanted an ad-free service.
Grooveshark was a “linear descendant” of file-sharing services
The record labels have sued several file-sharing services for copyright infringement. They claim that Escape and Grooveshark, which was founded by Joshua Greenberg in 2007, deleted hundreds of thousands of uploading records without warning and then discarded encryption data. As with Napster and LimeWire, Escape has agreed to settle, hoping to limit its losses at trial.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court, record labels allege that grooveshark was responsible for illegal uploads of music from their customers. The labels claim that the defendants knowingly provided substantial portions of the infringing content files. They based their claims on email communications, documents, and interviews with former Grooveshark employees. According to these documents, Tarantino and Greenburg instructed employees to upload as much music as possible. Because it was a peer-to-peer system, users had to stay online in order to download the music. If they suddenly went offline, their music was lost.
While file-sharing services like Lyrics.com and Fileshare have emerged as the most popular options for downloading music, many consumers are not aware of the terms of these services. The underlying agreements with record labels prohibit infringement of copyright, and Grooveshark has been shuttered after losing its lawsuit with major recording companies’ postinghub. The parent company, Escape Media, agreed to surrender its mobile apps, website, and intellectual property as part of the settlement.
It allowed users to upload “their own songs”
The site grew to popularity in 2010 as it allowed users to upload “their own songs.” Similar to YouTube, Grooveshark lets its users upload “their own songs,” which has given it a much bigger catalog than either YouTube or Flickr. Thousands of users have uploaded their own music to Grooveshark, and the site has been listed on Google Zeitgeist 2010 as the eighth fastest growing word in the US.
Grooveshark has also changed its interface to make it easier to discover new music and share it with others. This new look features larger photos, more functions, and social integration thoptvnews. But Grooveshark is still a service that relies on users uploading “their own songs.” Often, it’s difficult to find songs you’ve uploaded yourself, or even recognize which song title belongs to which one. While the site has made improvements to regain its credibility, it still has a long way to go to ensure that it follows copyright laws.
It was sued by record companies
The music streaming website Grooveshark was recently sued by nine record companies over its content. The record companies claim that the service illegally streamed over 36 million songs without permission. The company is now considering appealing, saying that its employees destroyed evidence of uploads. In the meantime, the music streaming website is still facing two other copyright suits from the music industry magazinemania. The lawsuits are costly for both sides, and Grooveshark may face a hefty financial penalty.
The lawsuit, filed in 2011, claimed that Grooveshark breached thousands of copyrights and violated the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It could be fined as much as $736 million. Moreover, the record companies said that if Grooveshark continues to operate, it could face an additional $150,000 in damages. In the end, the company has decided to shut down its operations.
It was on the wrong side of the trend
The startup’s saga could have ended differently. Its technical product was excellent and it used a peer-to-peer model to outsource distribution to users. It was decentralized, served the world, and had no venture capital funding. But as it turned out, Grooveshark was on the wrong side of the trend when it was shut down.
The startup launched in April 2008, several months before Spotify, but it was already experiencing explosive growth, even before the music industry was flooded with free music. The company used peer-to-peer infrastructure to source music from users’ file libraries, but the model looked like copyright infringement to record companies’ newsbench. The company shut down Grooveshark on Monday, after reaching a settlement with major labels.
With the recent shutdown, many people have been wondering how they can keep listening to their favorite music. As a result, some have started using a third-party service called GrooveBackup. But there are mixed reviews on the quality of groove shark newsstock. The only way to be sure is to visit it yourself. It’s worth a shot, though: the site does still offer a way to salvage playlists and song data.