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Apple yanks music streamer from App Store

Grooveshark jumps the shark

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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..." ®

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