Grooveshark for iPhone pulled from App Store following complaint from Universal Music

Grooveshark's iPhone app has been pulled from the App Store following a complaint by Universal Music Group UK. According to their blog, Grooveshark is at a loss to explain it:

This comes as an absolute surprise to us, and we are not sleeping until we figure out exactly how to fix this—and get Grooveshark for iPhone back in the App Store. Above all, our biggest concern is damaging the service we provide to all of you guys—our loyal (awesome) users.

Mashable's Christina Warren has an idea, however:

Grooveshark is an easy lawsuit target because of its approach to music licensing and distribution. Unlike competing services like Rdio, MOG and Rhapsody, Grooveshark’s database of songs is uploaded and cataloged by end users. Grooveshark doesn’t police these uploads for copyright violations, instead relying on license holders to file takedown requests. To date, EMI is the only company that has entered into a licensing agreement with Grooveshark.

If you already have the app, you can continue using it. If not, you might just have to wait for Grooveshark to get their licenses in order with UMG and potentially the other 2 big record labels.

Apprently, new media is still a work in progress...

[Grooveshark via Mashable]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 17 comments. Add yours.

Mitchell says:

7" inch iPad can kiss @$$

Macboy74 says:

@Mitchell That was 2 posts ago. Lay off the jack and coke and hash.

Mitchell says:

@Macboy15 no why should I? That is pathetic if they bring that out. Apple needs shooting

Mrjr says:

Well, that's disappointing on 2 counts. First, because it means that users won't likely get iOS4 updates when they have those ready. Second, because I was all excited about having grooveshark and now I find out that they are running a shady op. Guess I'll have to go to MOG.

cMc says:

What was the pricing structure for Groove Shark? Free app? Subscription service?

seb_or_sam says:

I can't say I'm surprised. Grooveshark is awesome, and I'm a paying "VIP" user (using Grooveshark on a phone is a "VIP" fature) and I use the webOS app and iOS Cydia app and love it, but if you ask me, Grooveshark is pretty close to being a legal P2P service. You can upload pretty much anything. Sure, they can remove copyrighted music if they get complaints, but people do things to not be noticed- intentional misspelling, of course- just like on P2P networks. For example, I couldn't find thePink Floyd song "Comfortably Numb" when I searched for pink floyd- but when I searched "comfortably numb" I found the song, exactly like it is on the album, but it's listed as being by "Pink Flloyd" or "Pink Fl0yd" or "Pink Floyd谀" to avoid the notice of the labels. If you do upload copyrighted content, even without knowing it, and they do catch you, you're not banned from Grooveshark (thankfully) but you are banned from uploading any more songs again- I'm banned from uploading after I uploaded a song I didn't realize was copyrighted (it's a long story) Grooveshark is awesome but it's got a risky business model. I miss SeeqPod...

R. Mutt says:

@JR according to the big labels everybody including yourself is running a shady op. What's sad is that Apple play along with these people, I wish they were that proactive for other (more useful) things too.

Glenn#IM says:

The music industry is having a hard time keeping up with music technology. It is their own fault. Now they are trying to catch up too late, and in doing so making a mess of everything hurting the consumer, and themselves. The "music police" have really gone crazy. YouTube is forced to take music down. The Girl Scouts were forced to change a song due to copyright complaint. The crazy one, a guitar dealer was told he could be fined because customers were playing copyrighted songs when trying out guitars. When the dealer told me that, I thought I had heard it all.

Robbie Alexander says:

I got the App! I was going to try and sell my phone on eBay with the App on it but the App is all linked to my iTunes account permanently and what not isn't it?

Robbie Alexander says:

At, cMc
I pay $3 dollars a month for my VIP subscription. I got it for 12 months and got a deal, it lets me have no ads, a desktop client, and now this mobile App. I figured Apple finally let this App through because they will release their iTunes just like Grooveshark soon, but now that Grooveshark will need to get licencing deals it'll most likely be more than $3 dollars a month. :(
Was too good to be true while it lasted I suppose.

cardfan says:

@Glen
In this case, it's a complain from a label and Apple jumps. Hey Apple, why not tell the label that you're not the justice system? Take up for your devs. This app met your rules and was approved. If the label has a problem with it, they have legal routes to take. If the app is found to be violating a license, then agree to pull it.

(Copy of) Dev says:

@Cardfan
Well said. Grooveshark obeyed both the letter and the spirit of applicable laws, and music labels have a clear remedy in the DMCA. That they chose not to, but instead complained to Apple, is hardly surprising, given their track record.
What is surprising, and disappointing, is that we must now add another unwritten arbitrary rule to App Store submissions: Thou shall not inconvenience companies who have Apple's ear.

Rene Ritchie says:

@cardfan @dev,
Unless I'm missing something, this has been standard practice in the App Store almost since inception. Apple has pulled unlicensed video games that use Nintendo's characters, for example, and pulled Stone Loops when an infringement complaint was made.
It seems like something far too easy to abuse, however, especially if big companies can just threaten legal action to force small companies out. We've posted on just that before.

Andy says:

This was a great app, sad to see it go

Robbie Alexander says:

At, Cardfan
Remember universal could have said, "Pull this App or we pull our music from iTunes."

kyle says:

smoke more green stuff guys