Looks like Google has had a gigantic change of heart on Grooveshark, and the proof is on its Android store. Â Effective Tuesday afternoon, the search giant has reinstated Grooveshark’s Android app on Google Play, a massive reversal from an earlier ban.
The reinstatement is nothing short of a slap in Universal Music Group’s face, and will likely sour the relationship between the two companies. Â Earlier, Google agreed to yank the app based on massive infringement claims, largely at the behest of UMG and the RIAA. Â A Grooveshark executive even pointed Digital Music News to a coordinated conspiracy attack during last year’s Bandwidth Conference in San Francisco. Â But those pressure tactics have come under serious scrutiny of late, and Grooveshark attorneys have gained ground challenging Universal for ‘tortious business interference,’ legalese for illegally interfering with normal business partnerships.
In fact, Grooveshark’s attorneys are now countersuing for millions, an aggressive (and expensive) gamble given Grooveshark’s financial situation. Â Which means Google may have been driven by legal considerations, though either way, this is a supremely unfriendly gesture to a Mafia-like, old school major label set that clearly hates Grooveshark’s innards. Â Which also means that Google’s label relationships certainly didn’t improve on Tuesday.
Actually, users could previously download the Grooveshark app on their Android devices, though nothing would appear on Google Play. Â That, according to the Grooveshark executive speaking with us last year, made all the difference in terms of visibility and uptake.
So far, no one’s talking: a Google executive returned our email but didn’t comment, and nothing yet from RIAA press representative Jonathan Lamy or Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarantino. Â Universal Music Group rarely responds to Digital Music News inquiries, potentially because of this publication’s involvement in their legal battle against Grooveshark and its parent, Escape Media Group.
The Grooveshark app remains off the iTunes Store. Â More as it develops.
Written while listening to Obie Trice, Eminem, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 26.