Grooveshark

Dear music fans,

Today we are shutting down Grooveshark.

Thus began a message on the music streaming website on the morning of Thursday, April 30th. I remember listening to Andrew Bird’s Useless Creatures late Wednesday evening.

I must have heard about Grooveshark back in 2009. I started using it seriously in 2010, when I worked with Dave. We’d put on some rap – Deltron 3030, MF DOOM, Madlib – and listen to it all day long. It quickly became one of my most visited and most used websites.

When coworkers asked what music service I used, they’d give me a baffled look when I responded “Grooveshark.” Perhaps its interface wasn’t as good as Rdio’s; maybe its music selection wasn’t as good as Spotify’s. But, it was the thing I knew. I mastered its sometimes odd behaviors, understood where to find select tracks.

It was all so sudden. Typing “groo” into an address bar and awaiting auto-fill is still a strong reflex. A reddit user commented:

Whelp, there goes 5 years worth of playlists :/

Grooveshark faltered after a long legal battle with record label companies. Thousands, if not millions of people actively used the site. One can’t help but think of other high-profile web services that were shut down for one reason or another. Google Reader comes to mind. It’s the ephemeral nature of the web. Data is backed up. Servers can withstand thousands of connections. But can this thing withstand time itself?

It’s tough to come to terms with, especially as someone who makes websites for a living. Seeking permanence may be a bit conceited. I suppose positively impact people’s time on the web, in whatever small way, is what we should strive for.