Grooveshark is gone

The music-sharing service is calling it quits. It apologized for how it did business and said the shutdown is part of a settlement with record companies.

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 record companies' copyrighted works 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:

It has been a privilege getting to know so many of you and enjoying great music together. Thank you for being such passionate fans.

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Mega file-sharing search engine launched

Mega Search is the first third-party index of Kim Dotcom's resurrected Mega file-sharing service. At Ars, Megan Geuss analyses the legal implications: 'Clearly, not all of this content is infringement (there are plenty of links to personal files and public domain items, Italian-language Agatha Christie books for example). But a quick glance at the front page reveals many files that probably are.' Read the rest

How the record industry killed legal P2P, created a generation of pirates, and laughed all the way to the graveyard

TorrentFreak's Enigmax does a great job of summarizing Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story, a remarkable scholarly paper written by Rutgers law's Michael A. Carrier, forthcoming in Wisconsin Law Review. Carrier interviewed the 31 subjects for the paper: "CEOs, company founders, and vice-presidents from technology companies, the recording industry, and venture capital firms," and asked them to tell the story of the P2P wars and the music industry. The result is a very good, zippy, 61 pages that'll angry up your blood, with phrases like "Lawyers at the labels historically drove the digital agenda. There was no one there with a truly entrepreneurial spirit. Zero, zilch, zingo, nada. No one there whose entire initiative was not to hang on to the past." and "Even more dramatically, each of the companies 'had a VP level person called the ‘digital person’' who was 'the person who had a decent office and no operational responsibility whatsoever.'"

Here's some of Enigmax's highlights:

It started with a drain on cash. Interviewees reported that venture capital funding for digital music “became a wasteland”, a “scorched earth kind of place” housing a “graveyard of music companies.” With the big labels choosing where and when to sue, funding was hard to come by.

Nevertheless, some innovators didn’t give up, although when the labels were through with them many probably wished they had. The report details instances where innovators tried to get label approval but found themselves in extremely difficult situations.

One recalled that the labels “don’t license you if you don’t have traffic” but once enough footfall is achieved then “they want to get paid for ‘infringement’ and the longer it takes to license you, the larger the ‘infringement’ number they can justify charging you.”

Another described a litigation “Ponzi scheme” whereby settlements and other fees extracted from startups were used to fund the labels’ ongoing litigation strategy.

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Former Warner Music CTO: Of course leaked albums drive sales!

On Twitter, former Warner Music CTO Ethan Kaplan greets the "surprising" news that file sharing of pre-release albums drives demand with acerbic and admirable sarcasm: "Let me simplify this answer: YES IT LEADS TO MORE SALES. DEMAND = DEMAND W/ $$$$$$ IF PRODUCT GOOD."

Simplified further: MUSIC BUSINESS (RECORDED): your product isn't diamonds mined from a secret mythical land.

And beyond broadband/napster/whatever, what hurt you the most is PEOPLE FIGURED THAT OUT. Cynicism caught up with you.

Ethan's one of the good'uns.

Former Record Label Exec Ethan Kaplan: Duh, Of Course More File Sharing Leads To More Sales Read the rest