It has been quite a while since we last heard about Grooveshark, and it wasn’t for no reason. The service, and its company Escape Media, has been too busy trying to fend off legal sharks that have set their eyes on one of the earliest music streaming services the world has known. Now that battle is over, and unfortunately for Grooveshark, history will deem it as the loser as the service formally shuts down with an apologetic note attached. At least it might not have to pay up millions in damages.
In retrospect, it’s not that hard to see why Grooveshark lost its case. While it made the same promise of access to music anywhere, unlike today’s legit services, it didn’t secure rights to those content before it launched. Grooveshark tried to justify this by likening itself to YouTube, where users uploaded content without YouTube’s policing until after the fact. That excuse didn’t fly, however, when said “users” are actually Grooveshark employees who knew the legal ramifications of their actions.
Grooveshark admits that what it did was wrong, which is really the only thing it can say to avoid having to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. As part of the settlement, it also has to close down its services, wipe its servers clean of all copyrighted content, and hand over the website and mobile apps, as well as any patents and copyrights they own. In other words, Grooveshark, for all intents and purposes, will disappear from the face of the world. At least until one of the plaintiffs decides to take up the name and re-launch it under their own management.
In its allocution, Grooveshark redirects its users’ attention to its former rivals that do have legal access to those pieces of content, like Spotify, Google Play Music, Rhapsody, and others. Quite interestingly, while these do have licenses to distribute music, they are still within the radars of label companies because of their free tiers, which companies claim are practically robbing artists of well-deserved income.