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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Grooveshark Will Maintain Its Services

While Grooveshark is engaged in lawsuits with the largest record labels, the music service is still determined to remain open and unlimited platform, beneficial for both the users and the rights holders.

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It hasn’t been a very good year for the service, because the largest record labels are suing Grooveshark on different grounds – from contractual disputes to copyright violation. Regardless of being dragged into legal battles, the popular music service is determined to continue operating.

Universal Music was the first to sue the streaming service for copyright violation back in November last year, demanding damages of hundreds of millions of dollars. It was followed by Sony and Warner next month, and 2012 started with EMI suing the service over a contractual dispute. This campaign has extended outside the borders of the United States: now even a Danish Internet service provider received a court order to block access to the music service.

However, Grooveshark claims that Universal Music’s accusations are false – in fact, the service has always tried to obtain licenses all over the globe and spoke directly to the musicians, creating a system that would be beneficial for copyright owners. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to please the music industry.

The Grooveshark’s idea is to keep the platform open. In other words, even when the service has official deals with the labels, it still wants the musicians to be able to share their works without involving a label. In addition, Grooveshark wants its platform and musical market to remain unlimited. It isn’t about the record labels being unpaid, but rather about the users being able to pay with their attention or their interaction.

This music service now has a user-base of more than 35 million music fans, and may appear a real asset to the record labels, if only they knew how to benefit from Grooveshark. Unfortunately, everything becomes complicated when it comes to multi-billions dollars industry, particularly when conflict of interests unsettles the pockets of the record labels.

The alternative to paid music is always piracy, and despite the fact that Grooveshark supports equity and revenues sharing, looking forward to a better business model that can satisfy both sides (record labels and consumers), companies like Universal, Warner and Sony still prefer litigation over compromise. 

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