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One of the first free music streaming services launched is dead

Grooveshark was founded back in 2006 but its failure to secure music rights led to its downfall.

Image: b-cline/Flickr

ONE OF THE first free music streaming services launched is shutting down after losing its long battle with the music industry.

Grooveshark, which allowed users to play any song they wanted without restrictions, has been forced to shut down after losing a long legal battle with the major record companies.

“We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music,” said the statement. “But despite the best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licences from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.”

That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.

As part of the settlement, Grooveshark has agreed to shut down the service, remove all content from the site, and hand over ownership of its website, apps and intellectual property.

When it was founded in 2006, Grooveshark was one of the first sites to allow people to listen to music on demand for free and had 35 million users at its peak.

Unlike other streaming services, it was users that uploaded music, not the company itself and while that kept it safe from most legal challenges in the beginning – it argued that it was similar to YouTube and was protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – that didn’t stop numerous record labels from suing the company.

However, while it managed to settle in some cases, the company’s strategy to knowingly upload music first without permission came back to bite them as recent cases ruled in favour of the record labels.

The most recent copyright case found that Escape Media, the company that owned Grooveshark, was liable for up to $736 million (€653 million) in damages.

In its statement, the company encouraged users to “use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders” and help artists and songwriters.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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