Grooveshark was one of the first online services that let you play almost any song you wanted, on demand, with no restrictions.
Today it closed down. It won’t be coming back, according to a statement on the web site.
The site shut down as part of a legal settlement with copyright holders — the artist, publishers, and music labels who owned the rights to a lot of the music on the service.
In its early days, a lot of the music on Grooveshark was not licensed. Users were uploading the songs, not the company itself, but that argument has been tested on other services, like Napster, and so far it’s never held legal water.
Copyright owners sued, and while Grooveshark managed to settle with EMI and Sony back in 2013, it apparently wasn’t enough.
Back when it started, there weren’t any easy ways to listen to any song on demand at a reasonable price. But as the company said in its goodbye post, with the rise of paid services like Spotify, Songza, and many others, there are many legal choices to do what Grooveshark was doing (mostly) illegally.
Grooveshark also apologised for how it started out: “We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. That was wrong. We apologise. Without reservation.”