TorrentFreak Face the Music: Grooveshark is Doomed

Music Labels Win More Ground Against Illegal P2P as Big Data giant Google Sides with RIAA and Kicks Streaming Service GrooveShark off their Turf.

Moses Avalon

About two weeks back my article on which P2P sites would be affected if Congress takes makes illegal streaming a felony, caught the attention of And why not.  They made my list of sites that would have to radically alter their content and advertisers if such a law went in effect.

Well, Ernesto, the lead writer for TorrentFreak and his fans bashed me with meatball Psychoanalysis but ultimately offered no real counter argument to mine, except one — GrooveShark: a P2Pish streaming service that made the top of my list of sites that will most likely to be shut down if illegal streaming becomes a felony.  TorrentFreak laughed at my prediction.

TorrentFreak readers followed their leader, Ernesto, as he attacked my facts, saying that GrooveShark was “licensed” by major labels and therefore immune from shut down and therefore, I’m wrong about them and therefore I’m wrong about everything and therefore, I’m a “Narcissist.” Makes sense, no?  Can’t you see the logic?

Well, this week, with just a hint of the way Congress is leaning, Google backed my call and started to express the anti-unlicensed P2P sentiment of the Obama Administration by throwing GrooveShark off their App store.  A hint highlighted by the Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, who applauded Google’s actions.

They are not alone, Apple did the same recently, throwing GrooveShark out of their App store as well.

Seems TorrentFreak (and their readers) need to read something other than their own posts once in a while. In fact, GrooveShark has never been fully “licensed” as Ernesto reported.  Rather, they’ve been in ongoing litigation with Universal Music for quite some time, yet Ernesto  ignored this fact.

GrooveShark has had a shaky history since its launch and will continue to do so, until it’s probably sold or shut down.  Years ago, I came to learn through talks with them, that they were offered a licensing deal by the collective of majors for $4 Million– that was $4 Million for a one-time, world-wide rights in perpetuity for all hits songs controlled by the major record labels.  A paltry sum for 100% of their content.

Radio networks have paid 100s of millions over the years for the rights to play music on the air.  But GrooveShark thought a one-time $4 Million fee was, to use the words spoken to me by one of their founders, “extortion.”

At this point they are probably saying “Why didn’t we just listen to that damn narcissist, Moses, and pay the money.”  A shame, because there are some great music finding features on the service, that sadly, many will not get to experience.

Meanwhile, TorrentFreak and other sites on my list that promote the illegal P2P lifestyle continue to be on the radar of US authorities as they wait in the wings for the go-ahead from Congress.

I Tweeted TorrentFreak about this but they have not responded.

If you’re not following me on Twitter, you’re missing a whole lot of fun.


Mo Out.

28 responses to “TorrentFreak Face the Music: Grooveshark is Doomed”

  1. Juan Valdez says:

    Great article, could use a spell/grammar-check though.

  2. Rob says:

    Yet another “told ya so” by our boy Moses. Sad but true, so many are quick to spout rhetoric without true facts. Theft is theft no matter how many people “are doing it”. I’ve spoken on this several times only to be bashed by those that freely utilize sites like Limewire, and Torrent sites.

    Preach on Mo!!

    • Ernesto says:

      Yeah Mo, let’s hope the RIAA approved Imesh and Bearshare will go down and take some revenue opportunities away from artists, just like good old Mo predicted.

    • Nurgem Slant says:

      Yeah, let’s ignore the facts about file sharing and focus instead on the hyperbole spat out by uninformed, corporate greedmongers who’ve been exploiting artists for decades. They’re the good guys, aren’t they. Dumb fuck.

  3. John Heartman says:

    Mo: What you are describing is the death throws of the postmodern record business that only addresses 1% of the artists. Who cares? The credible new acts happily give their music away for free. You can’t describe the future by looking backwards. .j.

  4. kevin says:

    you know a few weeks ago you wrote about Napsters buying a record label. Seems like a perfect win. They devalued the labels and catalogs. Now they buy them up cheap. Congress finally does their job and passes laws and Napster’s newly acquire assets turn into the cash cow they were before. It’s wealth passing from the rich to the rich and all the slaves, I mean workers just get a new master . So, in other words, Business as usual. I had responded to your Napster post that Napster would unveil some software that would protect licensing , but same difference. Congress finding a way to stop the p2p raiding has the same effect I was predicting because it’s always the same patterns. The world has rules. Might as well notice them, learn, and adapt and find your own path of survival.

  5. JJ Biener says:

    I spent a short time at TorrentFreak and I think I figured something out. These people are cut from the same cloth as the Truthers and the Birthers. They have their minds made up and they are immune to either reason or facts.

    They have a bizzare view of reality where the RIAA and MPAA have bought off thousands of people at all levels of government and industry, and all these people now do their bidding. Anyone who disagrees with any part of their agenda is either corrupt or a stooge. Anyone who brings actual facts into the discussion must be silenced at all costs. Their delusions are self-perpetuating.

    These people are akin to religious zealots. I don’t believe any argument could sway them from their cause, although I would like to see how they respond after a few months in prison.

    I believe they make up a small percentage of the downloading population. We need to focus on educating the casual downloader and have real legal consequences for the most serious offenders. COICA is definitely a step in the right direction.

    • Val Gameiro says:

      Actually, you’re confusing two very separate issues entirely… the concern about Obama’s true place of birth is something EVERY citizen should have… unless you don’t give a hoot about a little thing called the Constitution, which states the President of the US has to be a natural born citizen or one of the founding fathers. If he’s got nothing to hide, why has he spent all those millions keeping his records from the public?

      The 9/11 Truth movement simply wants an honest investigation about the events… if you ever read the 9/11 Commission report – it’s pure fiction — they don’t even cover why Building 7 collapsed (a building that wasn’t even hit by a plane). I was there on the ground helping with the rescue effort, and I’d love to know what really happened.

      And if you think folks who want to know the truth are crazy for suspecting their government, may I remind you of Watergate?

      I come from a country where politicians are crooked, and get caught, and get away with it; where the one presidential candidate that was defying the powers that be, died in a strange airplane crash, only a couple of decades after people were being hauled to jail by the secret police for simply dissenting against the government (look up Portugal and Salazar).

      TorrentFreak are people supporting illegal filesharing; stealing from artists (filmmakers and musicians alike), and not wanting to look at facts. Quite the opposite wouldn’t you agree?

      • Moses Avalon says:

        @Val & JJ

        I’m “approving” Val’s comments b/c i don’t wan tot seem like i’m playing editor too much, but I will not let this forum turn into a “9/11 Truther” or “Obama is not a citizen” debate. Let’s stick to the issues if you want to be published here.

        For myself, I don’t really care if Obama is a citizen, I think that Artilce of the Constituion will likely be updated soon as we are all becoming foreigners.

        As for 9/11 Turhters, without taking sides i can say, without fear of contradiction, that the people behind “Loose Change” are making a fortune off the “truther” movement. So, let’s not get altruistic about their motives, okay?

        Enough on this. Let’s get back to business: P2P, music and the Big Content v. Big Data wars.

    • Ernesto says:

      I thought I helped you the other day with your comment problem JJ.

      You can accuse me of a lot of things, but not of being immune to reason.

      • JJ Biener says:


        My comments were aimed more at the people who post at your site and other similar sites rather than you specifically. You were polite and reasonable in your communications with me.

        As I told you, I have not been back to your site, so I don’t know if your posted anything about the incident.

  6. Marc says:

    Great stuff Mo! What is the problem with people understanding this?? Being an artist I can tell all of you P2P users that I have felt/seen the devastation myself and with my artist friends. There source of income cut down to nothing! Their families suffering.. some of them even slid the guitar case under the bed and have taken on regular day gigs, never to make music again for all of you to enjoy. When you steal MP3’s or get dupped CD’s from your friends you you are killing off your favorite artists. It takes big money to make a quality CD (Not to mention a huge amount of work!). Do you want quality music to go away? left with garage band’s CD’s made in home studios? Next time payday comes around maybe your boss should tell you your not getting paid cause all your work should be “Free”.

  7. Val Gameiro says:

    You know what’s really funny to me, is that neither the folks at TorrentFreak, neither the government are really on the side of the artists… which is where you, Mo, reside… I wish those folks would concentrate their energy on creating a fair trade (free market) world so us artists could survive without having to have “day jobs”!!

  8. Jon Birge' says:

    You are right on the money on this one. And us indie label owners appreciate you taking a position.


    Jon Birge’

  9. Wnd3 says:

    Moses, I think the forthcoming ‘cloud’ revolution could do far more damage than p2ps ever have. Think about it. P2p users sharing music from a server…


  10. Ernesto says:

    Ernesto here…

    Excuse me for missing your tweet, it’s been a busy week.

    The Grooveshark issue surprised me to be honest because I’ve been in contact with the Grooveshark people for over three years and they always told me that they paid all the appropriate licenses. This, combined with the fact that they are a US company operating in the open, and that even Apple initially approved their application led me to assume that they were operating within the law. Mistakes happen I guess, but that doesn’t mean you’re right….

    You listed iMesh and Bearshare as prime targets, but both are RIAA approved businesses. The RIAA actually lists them on their page of legal services.

    So Moses, can you explain to me why these two would
    become illegal under Obama’s new plans?

    The fact that Grooveshark got kicked out is probably because the negotiations went bad, it has absolutely nothing to do with the “illegal streaming” plans.

    Like I told you in out private conversations, copyright infringement via p2p networks is already *very* illegal, so your references to p2p services make no sense. If the authorities wanted to these could be taken down years ago, Grooveshare included (apparently). Most of the sites you listed as targets had nothing to do with streaming as defined in the whitepaper, that’s why I kindly corrected you, nothing more nothing less.

    • Moses Avalon says:

      H’okay, let me respond to all your posts at once and I’m doing is mobiley so lay off on the typos.

      First, to all reading this, I like Ernesto. We’ve had very rational “conversations” in email. We may disagree on many things but we’ve been respectful to each other and my readers should not take the snarky banter as anything more than a way to keep the conversation entertaining. Just as I don’t take his calling me a few names to heart.

      Now… When I use the term “p2p” in the context of my work, it invariably means “illegal p2p” and not legal uses of a technology that is, in and of itself, neutral.

      Ernesto is new to my work so he many not realize that, but many of my readers, are tech savvy and some are p2p uses as well, and they all know what I mean. So, let’s move past the semantic nit picking so we can get to more meaty issues.

      “RIAA Aproved” is a misnomer. They are not the entity that these sites make deals with. They make deals directly with the majors individualy, not collectively. In fact, by US law you can not make a collctive deal with all majors through a trade organization like the RIAA. GrooveShark is perfect case in point, they have a deal with EMI but not with UNI. This can give the false impression that GrooveShark was “RIAA Aproved.”. The RIAA can list whomever they want, as “approved” but believe it or not they do not actualy speak collectively for all the labels.

      Second, even if such a designation existed it would be meaningless for the same reasons I stated in my response to your article: as the game changes, so do the rules of licensing. And I’ve got you on this one, because you have no choice but agree with me or confess to being a hypocrite. Because…

      P2P Lifestyle sites (as I call them) expend terrabytes of space talking about how horrible, underhanded, and dishonest the RIAA is, what makes you think then, that the RIAA would honor some lame “approval” that has no legal weight, once the laws changed and allowed them to crush their enemies with the DOJ now firmly in their cornner. That is a clear contradiction. If you belive the RIAA to be underhanded and unreasonable, then there is no which thing as “RIAA Approved,”. If you belove them honorable and good for their word, then you are exposing a rather large gap in your site’s position and philosophy.

      Volley returned. 🙂

      • Ernesto says:

        Hi Mo, thanks for backing me, but I disagree with your take on this.

        The RIAA represents the major labels so if they list something as a legal service we can assume that they have the appropriate licences…

        If you disagree, fine.. But I think the RIAA is pretty strict in putting an “approved” seal on a service, so I don’t expect any labels to sue these services that pay them in the near future..

        • Moses Avalon says:

          You would be sadly mistaken to presume or assume that. You need to look a bit more at the history of the RIAA and the majors, who disagree and sue each other routinely. Plus, you don’t really address the paradox I laid out in my response to you: if the RIAA is so evil, as many in your camp believe, why would they honor any non-legal designation of “approved” or “legal” etc? Unless… Unless they are not really evil at all!!!!

  11. johnson cromwell says:

    But what about the positive aspect of the streaming sites? There are several artists I have found as a result of Grooveshark that otherwise I would never have discovered. Now I purchase their records and attend their shows. The majors need to get on board and adapt, Grooveshark could be an incredibly useful tool for them. The data that they posess could be invaluable to labels in a sense that it is an accurate reflection of what people want to listen to. The major label business model doesnt work anymore. Why isn’t youtube under fire? they essentially provide the same service but with video. I can find just about any song I want on youtube and listen that way. If the labels were to strike licensing agreements, grooveshark would be able to provide something to the labels that the music business execs are to dumb to figure out.

  12. […] ago. Avalon went bananas upon hearing the news and told his readership how wrong we were with his rant titled “TorrentFreak Face the Music: Grooveshark is […]

  13. NormalEverydayThief says:

    I will first say that I download illegal stuff every now and then. Yes I know its wrong. Frankly I, like so many more out there, don’t really care.
    Normally if there is something that I really want I will go out and buy it. I won’t even waste the time of trying to find it and download it. No issues at all.
    For the most part…. and this I would say is the case 99% of the time… if I download something then it is something that I wouldn’t have bothered paying money for.
    As in I don’t care enough to spend my precious time listening/watching it AND paying for it but I might just check it out to see if its something that may be worth it in the future. Most of the crap being produced out there should be paying me for listening/watching it.
    Anything I want to hear has me standing in line to be the first to buy it.
    There are numerous things that I discovered by torrents that I won’t wait to download now. I settle for no less than the best experience for something I enjoy.

    All I’m saying is that If I stole something from you it isn’t money out of your pocket because I wouldn’t have listened to it or watched it anyway.
    But if I stole a song or movie from you and I liked it then you have a repeat customer that will give you money that you wouldn’t have had if I had never discovered you.

  14. Haha says:

    I hope TorrentFreak gave you a nice little traffic spike, it might give you some sense of self worth.

    You, sir, are beyond arguing with. You should be congratulated for breaching the idiocy watershed.

  15. One says that TorrentFreak is a illegal file sharing system. My question is why ? If it is illegal, why not other file or music sharing systems then ? I think there is no valid definition of illegality.

  16. John says:

    I heard a humor about Torrent Freak where they called it non-biased, is this true?

  17. Liam says:

    Maybe we all need to take a more philosophical view?

    “The Missionary Church of Kopimism, or in layman’s terms, the Church of File-Sharing, was founded in 2010 by Isak Gerson, a philosophy student with a love of file-sharing that, well, bordered on religious. Now, after years of petitioning the Swedish government for official status, he finally got it. The idea was that through official religion, file-sharers might be able to find protection from persecution for their beliefs, which obviously include illegal file-sharing. But it wasn’t just a bid for some kind of technical protection, as Gerson seems to take this whole religion thing kind of seriously.”

    Got to admire the guys innovative take on file sharing.
    Full article @

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