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Music site ends German business on a sour note
Photo: DPA

Music site ends German business on a sour note

Published: 19 Jan 2012 11:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Jan 2012 11:59 GMT+01:00

A free online music streaming service, Grooveshark, has closed its German operations, saying the music industry is charging too much for access to songs.

In a statement on its website, the company blamed GEMA – the organization that represents musicians and music publishers in Germany – for the move.

Around 30 million people use the services across the world, streaming music over the internet without paying. Those in Germany, about 6 million, are now blocked.

“Due to unreasonably high operating costs, Grooveshark is discontinuing access from Germany,” the firm wrote, urging users to contact GEMA directly to complain.

GEMA announced increased licensing prices for services such as Grooveshark last month – after agreeing to a licensing framework with Bitkom, which represents high-tech companies, including various music streaming services.

Many videos featuring music posted onto video sharing website Youtube are blocked in Germany because GEMA views them as violating copyright laws.

As is already common for Youtube, some German internet users are likely to turn to IP masking services to use Grooveshark.

Another option in Germany to stream music free, Simfy, allows users to stream music for a few hours per month before imposing a subscription fee.

In a statement responding to “accusations from Grooveshark,” GEMA said it had not been in discussions with the service and accused it of refusing to pay any licensing fees at all.

Grooveshark, which was launched in the United States 2007, has been locked in multiple copyright disputes with music publishers worldwide – it has been accused of not paying licensing fees and featuring music it doesn’t have the rights to. Apple has banished its iPhone app from its store and it is currently embroiled in lawsuits with many major music publishers.

The Local/mdm

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Your comments about this article

14:53 January 19, 2012 by boopsie
Good for GEMA and shame on music streaming services like Grooveshark and Spotify that scorn artists and pay little or nothing to them in order to provide their listeners with cost free access to music. Musicians and composers should be able to make a decent income from the broadcast of their hard work. The benefit of works of art to society is very real and so should an artist's compensation when their work is displayed or played for profit.
22:11 January 19, 2012 by ovalle3.14
Long live piracy.
01:45 January 20, 2012 by Redwing
@boopsie. I agree with you where living artists are concerned. However, when 60-year-old videos on youtube are banned in Germany because they may contain a trace of German music GEMA's powers go too far. I am fed up with having my nature videos spoilt with advertisements because some organization or other lays claim to copyright of music that was written 300 years ago and performed by orchestras and artists that died 50 years ago or more. Whom did they pay for the copyrights? Not descendants of Beethoven, he didn't have any.
11:30 January 20, 2012 by Shiny Flu
Musicians and publishers deserve to earn a decent crust - like all of us. However, GEMA's thinking and view of revenue collection is arcane and outdated.

You cannot treat the internet like Radio/Public Broadcast/TV with a blanket 'one-size fits all' approach. Youtube offers owners of IP to create their own channel, upload their own content and receive income from content views. It also allows then to issue take-down notices of IP breaches.

GEMA is asking too much from web companies and in fact can actually be hindering the success of many artists - the ones that use such free services to try and reach as many people as possible, as opposed to crossing their fingers and hoping that Universal will pick them up and promote them, then that single/album sell well so that they wont be dumped.
23:10 January 20, 2012 by Englishted
Face it we in Germany are being not allowed to watch hardly anything not only you tube but normal news stories are blocked even advertising for new songs that are sent to me by e-mail are stopped .

Germany seeking a superstar will run and run because you will not find one if you stop any new or different things being heard or seen.

@boopsie

I understand and agree with people earning for their work but blocking is not the answer ,I would ask where on mainstream German t.v. are the pop shows or videos being shown? m.t.v. is pay to view so where is the showcase for new talent?
20:01 January 22, 2012 by flipinwotsit
My 18 month boy liked watching " the grand old duke of York " on youtube. Now it´s blocked ( What has an old english nursery rhyme got to do with Germany)?...and then " the Shadows,E.L.O, to name but a few... Soon the internet will be so strongly policed, people won´t bother any more...
10:03 January 23, 2012 by theloudbloke
Germany is being left behind in the use of the internet.

Spotify can't reach a deal with GEMA, so we probably wont be able to have that either.

Just check out the BIG NEWS from Media Markt - they now have an online store!!! Wow 10 years or more after Amazon.
00:31 January 27, 2012 by Layer01
@boopsie

I can't decide if you are completely clueless, or just trolling.
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