I fought the law and the law won.
Grooveshark, announcing the April 30th shutdown of their streaming music service:
We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.
That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.
They go on to concede that hundreds of other services provide the same ability to listen to music without violating the ownership of music. And they’ve lost everything, from patents to the site itself.
Side note: Grooveshark was to Gainesville, Florida a bit as SoundCloud is to Berlin, Germany – a streaming startup that became a flagship of the scene. Drawing from the nearby University of Florida, the site was somewhat innovative when it launched, but anyone familiar with the legal requirements of streaming would be aware their clock was ticking.
To be honest, I don’t think this is a choice about freedom or free music, but about the rule of law. I suspect there’s not a person among us who hasn’t violated intellectual property in the form of unlicensed media. But to actually build an entire commercial service outside of that law and profit on these violations defies any notion of the ability of creators to choose what happens to their work. And that legal framework means that there is some discussion between rights holders and services about what happens next.
Meanwhile, it seems that with the ability to use the likes of Spotify – or, heck, even Tidal – few will mourn Grooveshark.