Music streaming service Grooveshark has ceased operation. The now-inactive site merely displays a message from the company, noting that a settlement agreement with major labels progressed the immediate shutdown.
According to Exclaim, Grooveshark — which launched in 2007 — had been served with a $17 billion lawsuit in 2011 from a coalition of the major music labels. The rights issues stemmed from the site's entire model that allowed users to upload and share copyrighted music with other users for free. A brief closure followed the lawsuit, and Grooveshark relaunched with a "tip jar" feature in the fall of 2012, giving users an opportunity to give back to artists (though they could still stream the music for free).
"That was wrong," the company said of failing to secure licenses from rights holders. "We apologize. Without reservation."
The message also offers some details of the settlement. Along with its immediate closure, Grooveshark has agreed to "wipe clean all of the record companies' copyrighted works and hand over ownership of this website, our mobile apps and intellectual property, including our patents and copyrights." They also acknowledge the ways in which both their innovations and mistakes have set a precedent for a variety of streaming sites that were created during the site's decline. Spotify, Google Play and Beats Music are just some of the platforms they cite specifically before adding a note that music creators should be paid for their art, linking to a site that helps fans find properly licensed services.
Read Grooveshark's entire message below.
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 failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.
That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.
As part of a settlement agreement with the major record companies, we have agreed to cease operations immediately, wipe clean all the data on our servers and hand over ownership of this website, our mobile apps and intellectual property, including our patents and copyrights.
At that time of our launch, few music services provided the experience we wanted to offer and think you deserve. Fortunately, that's no longer the case. There are now hundreds of fan friendly, affordable services available for you to choose from, including Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Beats Music, Rhapsody and Rdio, among many others.
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. You can find out more about the many great services available where you live here: http://whymusicmatters.com/find-music.
It has been a privilege getting to know so many of you and enjoying great music together. Thank you for being such passionate fans.
Yours in music,
Your friends at Grooveshark
April 30, 2015