More Major Label vs. Startup: EMI Sues Grooveshark
Grooveshark has become the latest music startup to be sued by EMI. Under the motto "Millions Of Songs. Find Yours", Grooveshark combs a database of 6 million songs spread across the internet for quick and easy playback.
But like Seeqpod and others who have tried to offer music online without first cutting difficult and xpensive deals with the major labels, it inveitably has come under fire. Grooveshark says that it had been trying to make deals for a 50/50 as revenue splt, but to date no majors had signed on. The full text of a statement on the lawsuit from Grooveshark via Media Memo is after the jump.
hypebot briefing: Playable search engines like Grooveshark host no music, but rather grab it for play Google-like from across the web. Downloading is not enabled and unlike after a Google search, the location of the song files are never revealed. So why can't the industry offer blanket licenses that monetize these sites instead of enriching lawyers? The alternative is an endless game of global whack-a-mole.
For the past year, Grooveshark has been in
talks with EMI Records and other copyright holders to negotiate
licensing agreements for the use of their content. We are pleased to
announce that over the past few months Grooveshark successfully
concluded mutually beneﬁcial agreements with many artists, labels, and
publishers that we hope to be a template for other such agreements with
additional copyright holders.
Recently, EMI Records chose to abandon the template we’ve built with
the help of other major copyright holders and opted for their
traditional intimidation tactic of ﬁling a lawsuit as a negotiating
tool. We ﬁnd the use of this negotiating strategy counterproductive, as
Grooveshark has been willing to conclude an agreement with EMI Records
that is economically sustainable for both EMI Records and a start-up
company the size of Grooveshark.
Grooveshark is run by a group of young and passionate musicians. We
love music, we make music, and we believe that the use of all music
should be paid for. We adopted this core philosophy at our inception
and to date have concluded agreements with hundreds of record labels,
major US performance rights organizations, and thousands of independent
artists who support Grooveshark’s business model. (See: Grooveshark
As musicians, we support the rights of copyright holders and strive
to sign sustainable agreements with all content owners, ensuring that
all artists get paid– or we agree to remove content from our system in
accordance with our DMCA Takedown Policy. We hope that EMI Records
eventually follows the lead of the many forward-thinking labels we are
already working with, who would rather get their artists exposure and a
fair share of our revenue than block content access and force customers
to illegal networks.
We understand that the economy of the digital music business is in a
state of ﬂux, and we hope to help ease this transition by providing the
required new tools and services that lead to the next generation of the
music industry. We respect the ownership rights of the major labels and
publishers, and our core mission has always been to compete with piracy
by offering a service that is genuinely better than what illegal
networks offer, while also ensuring fair payment to copyright holders.
Our next important step on our road to success is to conclude a
mutually beneﬁcial agreement with EMI Records that is sustainable for
both EMI and Grooveshark.