Grooveshark

Getting a second wind, Grooveshark CEO forecasts live concert streaming

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 11:40am

Grooveshark, considered by many to be a bad boy of music streaming platforms, may be gradually emerging from a tangle of legal assaults. Last month the service scored a licensing agreement with Sony/ATV. A previous agreement with EMI was undermined by the label’s accusation that Grooveshark failed to produce accounting statements, but that complaint was settled, and the deal resumed last month (as noted in RAIN here).

The source of legal claims from the major labels (some of which are still in process) centers around Grooveshark hosting song files uploaded by users. Although the company purportedly responds to takedown requests, operating a business under continual DMCA shelter is like living in a tent during a hailstorm -- the protection is inadequate and you spend all your time repairing damage.

In an interview published in Business Insider, Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino forecast the future in terms of “a 360-degree consumer experience.” His particular focus is live concert transmissions, and Tarantino compares the economics of selling record products to high ticket prices of concert shows. The logic is that there is a sweet monetization spot around distributing live acts online, at lower cost to the listener, while building a more complete fan-artist relationship.

Read the complete interview at Business Insider here.

Sources suspect major labels convinced Google to blacklist Grooveshark

Friday, July 26, 2013 - 12:50pm

Google has reportedly added streaming service Grooveshark to its "blacklist" of sites it filters from its "Instant" and "Autocomplete" search services.

Google regularly filters sites it deems copyright infringers from appearing to users via this functionality. (Simply typing "Grooveshark" into the search field still finds the site.)

[Note to self: Launch company called "ThePirateBax.com"]

For years Grooveshark has attracted the ire (and legal attention) of record labels and music rights advocates for its alleged unlicensed use of copyright musical compositions and recordings. Grooveshark has actually secured licensing agreements with several indie labels -- but not major label groups, all of which have sued the company.

Torrentfreak.com wrote (here), "To us it seems likely that the addition of Grooveshark is not based on algorithms or DMCA requests. Google is asked to remove a median of 12 Grooveshark URLs per week, compared to 1,792 for BTloft, which is not on Google’s piracy blacklist. Perhaps the music labels have been pushing for Grooveshark’s inclusion behind the scenes?"

Techspot.com seems to agree (here). "It seems to have been somewhat related to the successful appeal by the Universal Music Group against Grooveshark two months ago."

For years, Grooveshark operated like an "on-demand" music service, enabling users to hear any song in its library at any time, and create and share playlists of such music. In April, Grooveshark (see RAIN here) unveiled a new service called "Broadcast," which converts playlists into user-generated online radio (which has different licensing requirements). More recently, online music service Playlist.com (see RAIN here) ceased its on-demand-style streaming and switched to an online radio service model -- forced to do so by "the record labels," the company told listeners.

Court says DMCA not intended to apply to pre-72 recordings. Does this impact webcasters?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 12:35pm

A New York appeals court has ruled that the "safe harbor" provisions of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act do not extend to recordings made before 1972.

The ruling came in an appeal from Universal Music Group of a lower court decision which favored online music service Grooveshark. The service claimed (and was validated, at least at first) that it wasn't liable for user-uploaded pre-1972 sound recordings, as it was protected by the DMCA's "safe harbor" rules (read more here).

However, it's the DMCA which establishes and governs the way digital services (e.g. online radio) pay for the public performance of copyright sound recordings. Might this ruling call into question whether the law truly covers webcasters' use of pre-1972 recordings?

Digital Music News quotes the decision: "The statutory language at issue involves two equally clear and compelling Congressional priorities: to promote the existence of intellectual property on the Internet, and to insulate pre-1972 sound recordings from federal regulation... it is not unreasonable, based on the statutory language and the context in which the DMCA was enacted, to reconcile the two by concluding that Congress intended for the DMCA only to apply to post-1972 works."

We're looking forward to learning whether this decision has any impact on Internet radio. Read Digital Music News coverage here.

Grooveshark's new survival ploy: licensed online radio, programmed by listeners

Monday, April 22, 2013 - 1:10pm

Embattled online music service Grooveshark today unveiled a new service it simply calls "Broadcast": converting playlists into user-generated online radio.

Grooveshark is currently being sued by all four major record companies for copyright infringement, and its mobile apps were banned from both the Apple and Google Play stores. Yet, Grooveshark still attracts 3 million monthly users, and adds another 200,000 new users each month, according to coverage in Mashable.

The new Broadcast feature "lets users transform a playlist into a live broadcast with the click of a button," Mashable writes. "The DJ can select songs, record 30-second audio interludes and see real-time listening stats; listeners can engage with one another and offer feedback and song suggestions to the DJ through a live chat feature on the side." This is very reminiscent of licensed services from companies like Live365 and Radionomy. Grooveshark says it is negotiating licenses for the service with record labels.

Read Mashable's coverage here.

Barnes & Noble out Nook Tablet with Pandora, MOG, Rhapsody, Grooveshark

Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:00pm

Nook TabletTo compete with Amazon's recently-announced Kindle Fire tablet, Barnes & Noble today unveiled the Nook Tablet. The device features a 7" color touchscreen plus apps from Pandora, MOG, Rhapsody, Grooveshark, Netflix and Hulu. It arrives next week for $250.

Engadget has more coverage here and here.

(Pandora is actually no stranger to Nooks. It's offered on the Nook Color and can be hacked onto the original black-and-white Nook eReader.)

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