“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato
Apparently, the famous philosopher forgot to mention that music also gives expensive legal battles to the people that provide it for free. Since the days of Napster, music-streaming services have been inundated with lawsuits from frustrated artists, record labels, and music executives alike.
Faced with its fair share of copyright infringement cases from Sony, Universal, and Warner, Grooveshark has reportedly signed a licensing agreement with EMI Music Publishing after settling their previous legal disagreements. EMI had accused the oft-sued streaming service of breaching their contract in addition to copyright violations late last year.
It seems as if this is a step in the right direction, but Grooveshark has apparently embarked in a yearly cycle of licensing music, then ceasing the payments, only to get sued once again. Like many other services of its kind, Grooveshark allows users to post songs that other listeners can access. Unfortunately for the company, much of the music they provide has been obtained illegally and they are constantly being asked to take them down by the respective record labels.
The company’s resilience seems to be wearing off as Grooveshark is facing at least two other label lawsuits and has yet to find an efficient way to compete with Spotify and Pandora. Resulting from the constant pressure of lawsuits and its profit-generating competitors, Grooveshark has dramatically reduced staffing. They may be able to bounce back, but added pressure from Apple and Google—who have recently entered the music streaming industry—definitely will not make it easy.