Streaming service Grooveshark, owned and operated by Escape Media Group, is shutting down permanently as part of the settlement that followed a copyright infringement case originally filed against the company in 2011 by a coalition of major music labels. Last month, a judge ruled that the service, which launched in 2007 and built its catalog from users uploading audio to the site (rather than the service securing licenses for all the music available on the site and building a central library), stood in willful violation of thousands of songs’ copyrights and damages could reach up to $150,000 per song. Grooveshark had 4,907 tracks at the time of the ruling; it had licenses for some but not all those tracks.
Grooveshark peaked between 2009 and 2011, boasting 35 million users, but has been marred by lawsuits brought by music labels and publishers since 2011 — Google pulled Grooveshark’s mobile app at the same time that all four major labels were filing suit against the company. It settled out of court with music publishing companies Sony/ATV and EMI in 2013 but the major labels won their lawsuit against the company in September 2014. After, Grooveshark claimed that the lawsuit was applicable only to an early Grooveshark version that hasn’t been used since 2008. In December, the company announced plans for a new app that would combine music and messaging that would be fully licensed.
The letter the company posted on its site is copied below in its entirety: