It was announced this week that EMI, the only major label to have set up a legitimate licensing deal with the shady service, is severing its ties to Grooveshark. While EMI’s impending merger with Universal probably helped support this move (seeing as how Universal as well as the other two majors, Sony and Warner Music Group, are already suing Grooveshark for use of their artists’ content without compensation), EMI put forth a simpler explanation, stating that Grooveshark failed to make any payments on a $450,000 promissory note signed at the time of the original licensing deal, way back in November 2011. Apparently the first payment of $100,000 was due this past March 15, and when Grooveshark failed to pay, the jig was up.
So how has Grooveshark responded? Well, let’s just say they’re being their usual polite, adult self. A statement released by the streaming site in response to the break with EMI noted that, “Grooveshark was recently forced to make the difficult decision to part ways with EMI due to EMI’s currently unsustainable streaming rates and EMI’s pending merger with Universal Music Group, which we consider monopolistic and in violation of antitrust laws. To date, Grooveshark has paid over $2.6 million to EMI, but we have yet to find sustainable streaming rates. In spite of this, Grooveshark’s dedication to artists and rights holders remains the same.”
Oh, that wily Grooveshark, always turning the tables! Of course it was you who broke up with EMI and not the other way around. And why would you owe them anything, anyway, since you gave them WAY more money than you were supposed to already? Stupid EMI, wanting compensation for use of their artists’ music as agreed upon in a legal contract.
Grooveshark does have a valid point with the whole “monopoly” claim, not that it seems particularly relevant to the issue at hand. A lack of licensing deals hasn’t stopped Grooveshark from doing its thing thus far, and the lack of one with EMI probably isn’t going to slow it down either. Until governments start throwing some weight behind the label’s desire to see the site go down in flames (which they’re likely to do sooner than later), Grooveshark will continue to operate in the weird delusional bubble that keeps them seemingly guilt free as they rake in the advertising dollars.
It appears Grooveshark may be legitimately scared this time, though, putting continued pressure on Digital Music News to fork over information about a potential whistleblower from within the Grooveshark Organization that may have contributed to the suits filed against the site by the major labels. Stay tuned as this story develops!
• Grooveshark: http://grooveshark.com