Grooveshark, the music streaming service that launched in 2007 and once promised users they could “Play any song in the world, for free!,” shuttered its doors today after losing a lengthy legal battle with major record labels.
Last week, a federal judge ruled that the company could face hundreds of millions of dollars in damages after it was determined that Grooveshark had never secured the proper licenses for its expansive music collection, which it offered to the public free of charge.
In order to avoid having to pay up, Grooveshark’s parent company Escape Media agreed to a settlement with those labels, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music. The dissolution of the streaming service is one of the terms of that settlement, which, if violated, could cost Escape Media $75 million.
On its official website, Grooveshark’s founders Josh Greenberg and Sam Tarantino posted a short message today, in which they admitted their shortcomings and thanked their supporters.
“We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music,” the note reads. “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.”
In addition to the website itself, Grooveshark has agreed to relinquish their “mobile apps and intellectual property, including our patents and copyrights.”
Below, read Grooveshark’s full message.
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 of the record companies’ copyrighted works and hand over ownership of this website, our mobile apps and intellectual property, including our patents and copyrights.
At the 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:
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