Music-sharing service Grooveshark announced on Thursday that it was shutting down after 1o years.
The controversial free streaming site, which once boasted 35 million users, is in the midst of a series of copyright infringement lawsuits with record companies for failing to receive permission for hosting music.
Escape Media, the parent company of the infringing Grooveshark music service, has agreed to a legal settlement with the major record companies that includes the termination of all operations, wiping its computer servers of all the record companies’ music and surrendering ownership of its website, mobile apps and intellectual property, according to a statement from trade organization Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents the labels Sony, Universal and Warner.
“We started out nearly 10 years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes,” a statement on the Grooveshark website said. “We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. That was wrong. We apologize.”
Grooveshark now urges users to sign up for legal, licensed music services such as Spotify or Beats Music.
The RIAA stated that Grooveshark’s founders, Sam Tarantino and Josh Greenberg, acknowledged operating an infringing site, and that the Escape Media Group agreed to “significant financial penalties” if the terms of the settlement were not followed.
“This is an important victory for artists and the entire music industry. For too long, Grooveshark built its business without properly compensating the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible,” the RIAA said. “This settlement ends a major source of infringing activity.”
Last week, a judge ruled that Grooveshark’s copyright violations on nearly 5,000 songs were “willful” and made “in bad faith,” and told jurors they can choose to award the statutory maximum of $150,000 in damages per song.
Read the full statement from the Grooveshark website 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