Users of Netscape and Limewire were illegally distributing music through the web. In 2006, a new company named Grooveshark entered the market of sharing music. Instead of downloading the music, Grooveshark was a web-based music streaming service similar to Spotify, Pandora and Soundhound. Users could easily upload the digital audio files and share their music in the cloud with other users. The website of Grooveshark includes a search engine, streaming service and a recommendation system. The content was crowd sourced and Grooveshark had 30 million active monthly users. A community section allows users to view recent activity of friends and use their social media accounts to connect. If you are now eager to check the website and use their music streaming service, you will be disappointed. The website is closed.
The current status of the website is now defunct due to several legal cases against Grooveshark and substantial fines that makes the CEO say: ‘I’m Broke. I’m Literally Broke…’. Grooveshark stopped their streaming service for everyone on April 30th, 2015.
In 2012, German users couldn’t stream music anymore. According to Grooveshark the German performance rights organization GEMA is the one who is responsible for this action. Due to high licensing fees, the operational costs would have surged which Grooveshark definitely cannot afford. Moreover, various U.S. lawsuits were pending against Grooveshark for distributing pirated digital audio files and not paying any royalties to Universal Music, Warner Music and EMI Music. Additionally, Apple removed Grooveshark app from the App Store and Google pulled the app even twice from the Play Store. In May 2012, Facebook removed Grooveshark and in 2013 Google censored the term Grooveshark from its Autocomplete feature.
Grooveshark stated that firm complies with the rules and follows the procedure of the US’s Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act to remove piracy from its content. This didn’t solve the problem. In the first place, when Grooveshark removed pirated audio files, new ones show up almost immediately. Secondly, the employees were uploading pirated content by themselves. On top of all that, premium services for ad-free streaming services were sold to subscribers. Therefore, the judge of U.S. District Court in Manhatten ruled that Grooveshark was liable for infringement.
Basically, Grooveshark didn’t have proper licenses and paid almost zero royalties. It is inevitable for Grooveshark to shut down, but they had endured a long time of legal fights before they had to settle with the major record companies, shut down the website and give up their patents and other intellectual properties.
Grooveshark’s last message to its users and music lovers:
(blame Grooveshark for the low pixelated message)