Grooveshark has today announced that it has closed its operations in Germany. Users who tried to log on to the music streaming service this morning were served up a page informing them that the company had ceased to operate in Germany.
The reason behind Grooveshark’s exit from Germany is apparently high operation costs due to charges levied by the GEMA – the German performance rights organisation. GEMA asserts a tight hold (some would say stranglehold) on music rights in Germany – as anyone who has tried to access videos on YouTube will know.
Berlin IT industry association Bitkom has recently signed a deal to agree to pay 6 to 9 cents royalties to GEMA for every streamed song. In 2009 GEMA asked for 13 cents per play from every song on YouTube – a deal which was swiftly declined. It looks as if Grooveshark has made the same decision and decided to opt out of prohibitively expensive licensing deals.
This is the latest in a long line of troubles for Grooveshark – its parent company Escape Media Group is currently being sued by all major record labels in the US. EMI, the only label that licenses to Grooveshark, is suing for breach of contract, while Universal, Sony and Warner are all suing for copyright infringement.
What are you going to use instead of Grooveshark? Let us know below…