Music sharing service Grooveshark has been booted from yet another mobile app store.
As first reported by CNET, Google has expelled the service from the Android Market. Officially, the reason given was that Grooveshark violates Google’s terms of service (exactly how wasn’t divulged).
But sources tell Billboard that the move came following some serious arm-twisting by the major labels. And it’s all about timing. See Google general counsel Kent Walker is scheduled to testify today in front of the House Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcommittee, which is holding hearings on “rogue” sites that deal in pirated and counterfeit material, including music. The labels have long criticized Google for allowing links to pirated sites to appear in search results and posting ads from such sites in its advertising network.
Knowing the Walker would be testifying today, and knowing that Google is negotiating music licensing deals for its pending music service, the industry placed what one source defined as “strong political pressure” on Google to remove from the Android store any objectionable apps.
Apple removed the Grooveshark app from the App Store last year, following similar complaints.
Grooveshark allows users to upload tracks to the site that other can then stream and sample. It does so without licenses, and as such has been the target of several lawsuits. EMI first sued the company and settled with a licensing agreement in 2009. Universal Music Group then sued the company shortly after, and that case remains open.
The webcast for today’s hearings is available here.