Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

Summary: Is it competition, legal concerns, partnerships, or all of the above that got GrooveShark banned from the Android Market?

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TOPICS: Apple, Google
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Last year, Apple banned the music sharing service GrooveShark from its App Store. This week, according to Ars Technica, Google banned it from the Android Market. Most Android users will still be able to get it if they want and iPhone/iTouch users can jailbreak their devices if they really want the app, but for all those people I have one word: Napster.

That's the message for users since, as Gigaom first described in 2009,

All of the songs streaming on the site were uploaded by users, and Grooveshark doesn’t police its waters for infringing content itself. Rather, Grooveshark relies on the takedown provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, meaning that it will stream a song until someone asks for its removal.

While Ars suggested that Google may be clamping down to avoid any more problems with federal regulators and copyright holders, I'm inclined to believe that both Google and Apple have a competitive interest, as well.

Apple, obviously, has iTunes and has invested a great deal of effort in deals with music companies. Google, on the other hand, has had rumors of a branded music service flying around it for some time now. It also isn't clear how this will affect Android's relationship with Amazon, the default music store for most Android phones and now a streaming music service (at least for legally purchased content).

Frankly, I'd be more inclined to see pressure from Amazon as a reason to dump the GrooveShark app. Amazon, after all, with it's awesome new App Store (arguably much better than Google's own Android Market) and Cloud Player has made itself the single most important player in the Android software ecosystem, aside from Google itself.

So whether GrooveShark is the next Napster or just another Pandora, and whether Google wants to avoid any more legal nonsense or it just wants to push competitors out of the picture, the company clearly has plenty of reasons to say goodbye to GrooveShark. In fact, like it or not, so do consumers.

Topics: Apple, Google

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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30 comments
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  • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

    I am a fan of napster, but only because i get a free subscription to it by being a best buy premier silver rewardzone member. if it wasn't for that, i wouldn't pay a monthly fee just to stream music.
    bc3tech
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

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      3shao
  • Everybody is going to be mad at me!

    As an independent music producer, I put a lot of time and a GREAT DEAL of money into quality productions. It is very hard for me to continue doing that if there is no return on my investment of time, talent, energy, and money. I am not the guy making billions and I just can't afford for it to be absolutely free for everybody but me to enjoy my music. Goodbye GrooveShark! (the name itself speaks VOLUMES!!!!)
    Vgiman
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

      @Vgiman What kind of music do you produce and how do you distribute it? If a radio station liked your music and played it on the air would you be out money? The biggest diffrence between GooveShark and a radio station is that with GrooveShark you choose what songs you hear.
      Greenman76
      • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

        @Greenman76 - Radio stations pay royalties on the music they play. That's the biggest difference. Did you really think that radio stations get all that music for free? Every time a song is played, a fee is payed to a licensing agency such as ASCAP, BMI etc. Radio stations maintain playlists of all the music they air. These playlists are used to determine how often songs are played worldwide. Musicians need to earn money just like everyone else. It's never been easy. It's a misconception that the average musician will somehow magically benefit financially from giving away their music for free on line.
        duhvinchi
      • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

        @Greenman76
        Same thing I said to people few years ago when they were seeing no value for software and giving high regards for hardware. You can't deliver software by sleeping with hardware. You need to think, design, code and test and deliver and that measn expense and that has to be reimbursed. Likewise music, video etc. can't be delivered by just sleeping with musical instruments, cameras etc. You need talent, presentation and delivery. And not everything will be runaway hit, even a good software or good music/movie can be flop and a stupid concept for software, music, movie can become super sensation.
        Ram U
      • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

        @Greenman76 more to your point, Grooveshark DOES pay royalty for your music if you sign their liscensing agreement. At least 150 independant recorda labels have a deal with Grooshark and get paid everytime their song is played.
        oab999
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

      @Rama.net
      Your statement about even a stupid idea can become a super hit works for me with iTunes. There are and were other better services out there (AMAZON) not to mention cheaper now that iTunes raised prices by 30 cents per song. Yet itunes is popular not because its good, but because thier players are good and are tied into the software. That's why they put so little into making it user friendly.
      chethammer
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

      @Vgiman, Gshark actually pays good money to producers and IP owners, once they sign a liscensing agreement. In fact, you would be shocked to know how many tier 1 artist upload directly to Grooveshark (Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog and many many more), and get a big revenue share component (north or 60% of all revenue). There is a huge misconception about Grooveshark, mostly paid for by labels. The fact is that they see Gshark as a competitor and are comepeting hard against them. Sign up with Grooveshark, upload your material and you'll get paid everytime your song is played.
      oab999
      • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

        @oab999 I do not use Grooveshark and do not know how they work but have a question. Sounds to me like users of the service can make their collections available to other users to listen to. If the actual owner of the material has not signed up with them, do they get paid? My understanding is they don't and their material is not removed unless they complain. If that is the case I take it as saying it's alright to steal unless you get caught but we will pay you if you let us play your music.
        non-biased
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

      @Vgiman Having an audio engineering background I can certainly see where you are coming from. It's no different than the app developers that complain about people pirating their work.
      non-biased
  • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

    Google should provide an a clear explanation when they reject an app. Not just something about it violating the TOS.

    I'm not expecting anything from Apple - I know they reserve the right to reject apps for competitive or any other reason - but I expect more from Google.

    The fact that the user can still manually load the app on the device is nice, but it is not a substitute for Google running their marketplace in a transparent manner.
    Trufagus
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

      @Trufagus IMHO, I think both Apple and Google will probably soon have to give a very good explanation as to why they boot Grooveshark off. And unless they are right about copyright infrigement (which they are not), than they may have to face the FTC for monopoly practices. As these 2 markets become the premier markets (and they already are), than it won't be so easy as to boot them off for competition...
      oab999
  • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

    Expect more?! The sole purpose of the App was piracy, is that not enough?
    Or is piracy acceptable in your eyes?
    RandomCake
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

      @RandomCake How so? Minishark cannot download the songs just sort of stream them.
      slickjim
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

      @RandomCake You have cut to the point of it rather well. I would add that if someone wants to 'pirate' a resource, they should have to do it themselves by their own wits and not be given an automated tool that would allow any 7 year old to do it. @Petr Perry (below) - It is still listening to them without paying the artist anything. The difference of whether the file is archived permanently or not has (IMNSHO) no real bearing on whether it was fair to the artist. Why I love records -you pay once and can listen forever, none of that streaming crap. But the artist has to be paid something.
      opcom
      • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

        @opcom, you make a point, however, the point of Grooveshark is allow 3rd party uploads and actually be paid for it. Grooveshark pays anyone a very high % of all revenue generated when playing your song (revenue generated from ad sales and VIP subs). GShark is actually a tool to allow independant, small artist get paid for their content. In fact, well over 50% of Grooveshark's content is liscensed and generates payments to artists. Go to their web site and you can see this. The only ones that have not wanted to sign a liscensing agreement with Gshark are the 3 recorda labels. The reason is easy, they are trying to control the negotiations, as they have done in the past with everyone (consumers, artists, distributors etc).
        oab999
      • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

        @oab999 [i]In fact, well over 50% of Grooveshark's content is liscensed and generates payments to artists.[/i]
        So not all 100% of the owners of Grooveshark's content are getting paid. What does well over 50% mean, 57%? If so that means 43% of the content is being stolen, how is that right?
        non-biased
    • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

      @RandomCake Grooveshark has the exact same legal strategy as Youtube, which is operate 3rd party uploaded content, comply with all take down requests, and thus with the DMCA. They are not pirating, they are legal as per the laws of this country. At least as legal as Youtube (and they have plenty of federal judgements in their favor). Want to see who is more DMCA compliant? Search Beatlers on Youtube and then on Grooveshark...than you tell me!
      oab999
      • RE: Google joins Apple in banning GrooveShark from its App Market

        @oab999 Does Grooveshark automatically scan the content to find copywritten material that isn't supposed to be there and remove it as it is my understanding that Youtube does?
        non-biased