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EMI do deal with Grooveshark, drop lawsuit

By | Published on Wednesday 14 October 2009

Grooveshark, the music search engine that lets users preview tracks through its own streaming player, has entered into a licensing deal with EMI bringing to an end legal action launched by the major earlier this year.

Grooveshark was one of a number of enhanced music search services which caused concern in some major record companies, because many of the music files the search engine links to, and therefore many of the tracks that get played through the bespoke player, are unlicensed.

When EMI launched its litigation against Grooveshark earlier this year, the people behind the web service criticised the major, claiming it was in talks with all record companies about licensing their service, and that EMI’s lawsuit amounted to bullying tactics.

A spokesman said: “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”.

However, talks continued, and yesterday both companies confirmed an agreement had been reached. It means that any songs in the EMI catalogue can now be streamed through the Grooveshark player legitimately, oblivious of the legitimacy of the music file’s origins. Grooveshark will fund the service through ad sales, and also offer an ad-free three dollar a month premium option.

Confirming the deal, Grooveshark CEO Sam Taranito said yesterday: “EMI Music and EMI Music Publishing have collaborated with us to create a mutually sustainable deal which represents the future of digital music. 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”.

EMI’s Mike Piibe added: “We think services like Grooveshark offer great music discovery options for fans. 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”.