Guest post by Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Grooveshark and Google have had an adversarial relationship since April 2011 or earlier, because that’s when the Android app store booted Grooveshark from its virtual aisles. Along with Apple’s rejection of the app from iTunes, this led to Grooveshark building an HTML5 workaround. Now, one of them lying to Evolver.fm. You be the judge.
(Update: The Plot Thickens.)
Last week, we followed up on a reader tip with a story about Grooveshark Downloader, a Google Chrome extension that makes it possible to download just about any song from Grooveshark’s allegedly-infringing music streaming service, for free. If the record labels suing Grooveshark think its unlicensed streaming service is giving them headaches, just wait until they find out that a simple Chrome extension lets anyone download all of that music too.
When we asked Grooveshark spokeswoman Danika Azzarelli to comment on this alleged “hacking” of the Grooveshark service, she she responded thusly (emphasis added):
“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.”
Wait, so Google won’t allow Grooveshark into its Chrome or Android app stores, ostensibly because the labels say it infringes on copyright — and yet it also refuses to block apps that make Grooveshark into an even more powerful tool for downloading music without paying for it? Could Google be trying to throw Grooveshark under the proverbial bus, in order to anger the labels even more and have one less rival for its own music offerings? Or is Grooveshark simply trying to shift blame onto Google for the fact that all of its music can be downloaded with a simple Chrome extension?
We asked Google to comment on Grooveshark’s claim that it asked Google to delete Grooveshark Downloader from the Chrome Web Store, and that Google was unresponsive. Google’s response:
“We don’t usually comment on specific apps or extensions,” responded Google spokeswoman Lily Lin, “but can confirm we have not received any removal requests for the extension in question.”
Grooveshark CEO and co-founder Sam Tarantino told Evolver.fm in an exclusive interview that he thinks recorded music should be free. He ostensibly meant that streaming music should be free, as opposed to downloaded music, which is why we found it interesting that a simple Google Chrome extension could turn Grooveshark into such an efficient tool for downloading music without permission.
Who’s lying about this? We’ll decline to speculate; all that’s clear is that one of them is. Who do you believe?