Guest post by Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Remember when the CEO of Grooveshark told us he thinks recorded music should be free? Well, he got even more of his wish. The Grooveshark web app allows users to upload files into its system for other users to stream, which it says makes it like YouTube. The record labels disagree. They say that makes it more like Napster, which is why it’s still embroiled in a complicated lawsuit.
Anyway, not even Grooveshark intends for users to be able to download the millions of tracks available there, and yet anyone with a Google Chrome browser can do just that. (See update below; apparently, Grooveshark has been asking Google to remove this extension from the Chrome Web Store, to no avail.)
Grooveshark Downloader, sent to Evolver.fm by tipster Israel Lot today under the subject line “Grooveshark got hacked,” installs in seconds. Once it’s installed, every song on Grooveshark suddenly has a little green Download link next to it (see image above). Click the link, and the music downloads as great-sounding 320 Kbps MP3 files (see image to the right).
I’ve been wanting to revisit Los Lobos’ amazing Kiko album ever since I read allegations earlier today that Paul Simon stole several songs from the band for his Graceland album, and wouldn’t you know it, the whole thing is on Grooveshark. Thanks to Grooveshark Downloader, I now have all the MP3s, which I will delete the moment this article posts.
If you feel like you want to try this our yourself, be forewarned. Adding this Extension to your Google Chrome Browser gives Brazilian developer desescute the ability to see what you’re browsing on the web, everywhere you go in Google’s browser. It comes with the following warning from Google:
“This item can read every page that you visit — your bank, your web email, your Facebook page, and so on. Often, this kind of item needs to see all pages so that it can perform a limited task such as looking for RSS feeds that you might want to subscribe to.
Caution: Besides seeing all your pages, this item could use your credentials (cookies) to request or modify your data from websites.”
Nonetheless, over 25,000 users have seen fit to install Grooveshark Downloader over the past few months, according to the Google Chrome Web Store.
Of course, if you’re one of the record labels currently suing Grooveshark for copyright infringement, Grooveshark itself is already something of a hack, and is already widely used for infringement. This download-happy Chrome extension sure won’t help.
Evolver.fm has contacted Grooveshark to see if it has any comment about this; we hope to update this post soon.
Update: Grooveshark spokeswoman Danika Azzarelli says Grooveshark is taking action to block apps such as the Grooveshark Downloader extension, including asking Google to remove it from the Chrome Web Store:
“Grooveshark is in no way affiliated with the ‘Grooveshark Downloader.’ These types of apps go against our terms of service and we do not condone them. Any users who install this sort of app are doing so at their own risk. We are taking action to block this category of apps and have asked Google to take down this app and any like it from their Chrome store. To date, Google has been unresponsive to our requests. It is unfortunate that Google has decided to block Grooveshark’s official applications from Chrome and Android stores but continues to allow these rogue apps. A major part of our mission is to be a viable alternative to piracy, and this mission guides everything we create for our artists and users."