The iPhone App Store now plays host to many kinds of subscription music apps, but Grooveshark is no longer one of them.
Apple brought the axe down on Grooveshark after five days in the App Store, and all it took was one complaint from Universal Music Group’s U.K. office, according to Grooveshark’s official blog. “This comes as an absolute surprise to us, and we are not sleeping until we figure out exactly how to fix this—and get Grooveshark for iPhone back in the App Store,” says the Grooveshark crew.
Grooveshark for iPhone was like a lighter, less-committed version of MOG or Rdio. For $3 per month, users could search for and play any song on-demand, and create playlists of their favorites, but the app didn’t allow users to create full music libraries, like you can with the aforementioned $10 per month apps. Grooveshark’s website does include these capabilities, and the ad-supported version is free.
Grooveshark’s rates are low because it doesn’t license music from any major labels except EMI, which negotiated a deal after suing the service. Instead, music is uploaded by users at their own risk and shared with the masses. I don’t know why Grooveshark has escaped the wrath of other labels, but I do know labels are particularly demanding with mobile phones. This is why Rdio costs $10 per month for smartphone access instead of $5 for PC-only, and why Napster acknowledged nearly a year ago that high licensing fees for mobile streaming would make its $5 per month plan impossible.
Curiously, Grooveshark remains available for Android, Blackberry, WebOS and Symbian phones. Maybe Apple was the only company Universal complained to, but unless the label thinks it can cripple Grooveshark without any further action, I doubt it will be the last.