Grooveshark, the world’s most notorious copyright-infringing audio streaming site, is no more.
The free US-based platform, which was founded in 2007, has been battling Universal Music in a damages trial this week, and now the verdict is in: in a settlement with all three major labels, Grooveshark owner Escape Media has agreed to close down operations with immediate effect.
Escape has escaped any huge damages payout, but has effectively agreed to hand over all of its assets to the majors, and delete any material from Grooveshark’s servers.
It’s going to happen, too: after being found guilty of copyright infringement and choosing to accept a settlement, Grooveshark founders Josh Greenberg and Sam Tarantino (pictured) have acknowledged they will pay around $75m in damages if they infringe the majors’ music again.
As such, Grooveshark no longer exists. A message on its homepage (see below) reads: “Dear music fans. Today we are shutting down Grooveshark.
“We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes.
“We made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licences from rights-holders. That was wrong. We apologise. Without reservation.”
Josh Greenberg & Sam Tarantino, Grooveshark
“We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.
“That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.”
It added, “If you love music and respect the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible, use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders.”
Although Grooveshark failed to obtain licenses from the major labels, it did strike a few legitimate licensing deals in its time, notably with Sony/ATV – the biggest publisher in the world – as well as ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said, “This is an important victory for artists and the entire music industry.
“For too long, Grooveshark built its business without properly compensating the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible.
“This settlement ends a major source of infringing activity.”
Music Business Worldwide