Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Sue or Sign: EMI Trades Lawsuit for Deal With Music Start-Up Grooveshark

fought-the-lawWell look at that: EMI Music Group, which had been working on a licensing deal with music start-up Grooveshark but ended up suing it instead, now has a licensing deal with Grooveshark after all.

This one isn’t a total shock, as EMI and Grooveshark had supposedly been close to a deal prior to the lawsuit. And it wouldn’t be the first time that a label sued a Web company: See Warner Music Group (WMG) and Imeem, as well as Universal Music Group and News Corp.’s (NWS) MySpace, among others.

No details on the deal from EMI or Florida-based Grooveshark, which offers free streaming music, a la MySpace Music, Imeem, Spotify and others. Unlike those services, though, Grooveshark doesn’t appear to have licensing deals with three of the big four labels and plays their music anyway. But with the exception of the EMI suit, it has remained unmolested. Interesting.

For the record, here’s the release (Inside baseball note to Grooveshark guys: Please don’t attach press releases as PDF files. Really cumbersome. Thanks.):

Music streaming service Grooveshark signs deal with EMI Music and EMI Music Publishing
Gainesville, FL–Today, digital music service Grooveshark.com announced it has entered into agreements with major label EMI Music and EMI Music Publishing that will give Grooveshark users access to content from EMI’s roster of current and legendary catalog artists and EMI Music Publishing’s songwriters.

Grooveshark offers music fans the ability to stream songs for no fee from a vast catalog of music. Fans can enjoy Grooveshark’s music without having to download client software or register. The basic service is free to fans and supported by visual advertising. Fans who opt for a $3 per month premium service can enjoy unlimited ad-free streaming music. The site was recently named the best way to listen to music on the web by Rolling Stone, and just surpassed one million registered users.

“EMI Music and EMI Music Publishing have collaborated with us to create a mutually sustainable deal which represents the future of digital music,” says Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino. “We will continue to deliver the best music service on the Internet to our users, and we will expand our capacity to strengthen fan-to-artist connections through our technology.”

“We think services like Grooveshark offer great music discovery options for fans,” said Mark Piibe, EMI Music’s Global Head of Digital Business Development. ”In turn, Grooveshark offers a new revenue stream for our artists and will help us learn more about how we can better connect different types of fans with artists.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work