Just a few days after the web-based music streaming site Grooveshark.com was forced to shut down for copyright violations, a clone of the original site is now on the web. Thought the site promises the complete bank of songs that Grooveshark had, users in the city have accepted the site’s demise.
“It was a one of a kind on-demand music stream website when it first came out. I remember creating custom playlists that ranged from maestro Ilaiyaraaja to Armin van Buuren that looped endlessly through the years. It’s sad to say goodbye to this musical companion that has been the seed for online music services, second to Napster, back in the early 2000s,” says Nitish Vasudevan, a student.
Vishweshh, an engineering student, recalls, “I started using the site after a friend suggested it to me. The website was a one stop for discovering new music. Now, we have YouTube for viewing comedy shows, music videos, movies and random stuff. Without YouTube, the advertising opportunities, scope for seeing new movies and songs will be lost. Grooveshark was like YouTube for music!”
Grooveshark, which began in 2008, owned and operated by Escape Media Group in the United States, was sued for copyright violations by EMI Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. On April 30, Grooveshark shut down as part of a settlement between the service and the music labels.
‘We made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licences from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service,’ read the letter released by the Grooveshark team.
This stirred up a debate on the accessibility of music to a common man vs the profit for the labels. “The Grooveshark I knew had more songs than YouTube. It had an amazing design, clarity and speed. Now, the only alternative is Torrent,” says Vignesh Rao, who was an avid user of the site.
“Most corporates are only in the business to make loads of money. And they have the mechanism to kill anything that gives their property for free,” he adds. Venkataraghavan Srinivasan, co-founder of the YouTube channel Parivadini, which streams carnatic music, now fears that users’ money will be cut further. “Grooveshark did not have the money to deal with those sharks (labels). Lawyers, especially Intellectual Property lawyers are very expensive,” he says.
“Even we have been twisted by them. They claimed copyrights for Thygarajah and shut us down for sometime. Even on YouTube, labels use copyright as an excuse to strike out channels,” says Venkataraghavan.
According to electronic dance music artiste Saurabh Chandrasekhar, for artistes, it is a good thing that action was taken against the site which was distributing music illegally. “Artistes, especially budding artistes, need to get due credit. But these days, people are so used to getting music for free, that they do not think a second about piracy. However, free music also guarantees more reach for the musicians ,” says Saurabh, who buys tracks from beatport.com.