Apple yanks music streamer from App Store
Grooveshark jumps the shark
The iPhone app of popular music-streaming service Grooveshark was summarily yanked by the App Store police after a mere week of availability.
"Earlier this afternoon," reads a Monday post on Grooveshark's blog, "Apple sent us a letter notifying us that, due to a complaint they received from Universal Music Group UK, Grooveshark for iPhone has been, strangely, pulled from the App Store."
Universal Music Group UK — or, more properly, Universal Music UK — is an arm of Universal Music Group International, which is itself the non-US entity of the world's largest musical entity in the known world, Universal Music Group.
UMG is not a power to be toyed with, but it appears that little Grooveshark is attempting to tweak the giant's nose. Unlike its competitor Spotify, which has a licensing deal with UMG, Grooveshark's only relationship with the music giant is that of defendant — UMG filed a lawsuit against the Florida music streamer this January, alleging massive copyright violations.
Interestingly, in May 2009 another music heavyweight, EMI, also filed a lawsuit against Grooveshark. However, the two worked out an agreement the same October that Grooveshark's CEO called a "mutually sustainable deal which represents the future of digital music."
Grooveshark is playing the aggrieved party in this App Store contretemps. "This comes as an absolute surprise to us," the company's blog post reads, "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."
From where we sit, "absolute surprise" seems a wee bit overstated. If a company is suing you, and that company has sway over, say, the universe's largest online music-distribution mechanism, it should come as no surprise that said plaintiff might use said sway to tighten the screws on you. Or simply screw you. Same difference. Whatever.
Grooveshark ends its blog post by saying. "We're going to keep working hard to provide the best services we possibly can across the web, BlackBerry, Android, Palm WebOS, Symbian, and everywhere else you love your music — including the iPhone."
It also might want work hard to get its licensing house in order. As much as The Reg may hold the rapacious music industry in disdain, we find ourselves in begrudging agreement with one commenter to Grooveshark's blog post. "If it walks like a pirate and quacks like a pirate..." ®
Apple blames UMG hmm, or is it more likely that Apple has a streaming music player due soon and time to pull any possible competition. Whats next, Spotify being shown the door also!
No wonder some good apps are Rejected!
The guy that overseas the app store has a side business selling "Fart Apps" for the Apple app store. So when good apps get the rejection notice the Apple App Store directors gets his in.
It is a bit dodgy
But they seem to have used the YouTube loophole to get round legal issues. They will remove songs from the lists if requested by labels for infringement. But the music gets put back up almost immediately by users.
You can't stop people putting what they like on the web without threatening the entire web. i.e the YouTube defence, its impossible to police effectively.
Obviously YouTube are a lot more proactive about it because their business doesn't rely on users uploading copyrighted material.
Still, its a handy app to have, way more choice than Spotify and a lot cheaper, another good reason not to buy iStuff.
Strange as it may seem, when UMG are found to be selling music to which they have no rights their attitude is "provide proof of exact amount of your loss and we'll start negotiating, otherwise forget it" (oh, and no we wont make the relevant accounting records available to you); and in the meantime we may or may not stop selling such music because its a pain to organise what with all our subsidiaries and the world being such a big place, and anyway we have better things to do.
Hopefully iTunes and similar organisations have a legal arrangement with suppliers like UMG that covers them from getting caught in the crossfire when they supply "illegal" material in good faith.
The music industry
Dear Film / Music industry,
Why not just copyright all your films and music to such an extent that it would be illegal to buy / view / copy / rent / use as toilet paper or whatever. That way, as soon as an artist releases something copyright it to hell and put it in a big vault and hide it away so noone can ever see / hear it.
There that will show them pirates (sorry customers) Yeah.