Music streaming service Grooveshark made news earlier this month when it introduced an iPhone version of its service to Apple's App Story. It made news less than 10 day later after Apple removed the app after a complaint from Universal Music Group, which brought a copyright infringement lawsuit against Grooveshark back in January. Grooveshark founder/CEO Sam Tarantino recently contacted Billboard to offer his take on the situation.

On Grooveshark's relations with Universal Music Group.
There are some key issues here people are not looking at. First, we completely, 100% adhere to the DMCA takedown procedures. If you send us notice, we'll take stuff down within 24 hours. The funny thing about UMG, they have never once issued us a notice to take down their content. Other labels have, and we're progressing with them not only on taking down their stuff but on deals going forward. It's funny that one label here is sort of just in its own world. We've reached out to them to get their metadata, otherwise they're asking us to police something that we don't even know what it is.

On the importance of a mobile app.
The iPhone app made more money for us in the 10 days it was available than any of the other mobile apps combined. Our partners now that have deals with us have to suffer because of one label's problem in a state of New York lawsuit. This isn't even a federal lawsuit... Why hasn't Universal gone to Google and said, 'Pull our app from Android'? I don't know where it's coming from. Why are they treated differently? Because they're owned by Google?

On why they don't just take out UMG's content
It's not that simple. There's so much content that a) It's very hard to identify the actual masters themselves, and b) We can't know what they are until UMG gives us either the masters or the metadata in the first place. Some of the identification systems have failed miserably. The master rights we received from a lot of our label partners have been completely mis-tagged. The only way to be precise about this stuff is to work with the people in question... Here's an example that happened recently. An artist's manager uploaded all their live bootlegs. The label said take it down, so we take it down. The manager goes, "Why'd you take it down, we own our live and bootlegs." That's not out problem, and that's happened in thousands of cases.

On licensing negotiations.
We've been at this for four years. It's tough. This space is very difficult. I started this at 19. You don't exactly walk into one of these major label guys' offices at 19 and go, 'this is really cool.' It's more, 'Get out of my office.' Our guy [at UMG] who we were talking to left, so we were focused on closing EMI.