Google-owned YouTube is finally cracking down on Discord’s Groovy music bot, which had sourced and played music from the streaming platform on more than 16 million servers for years right under its nose.
Since its creation nearly five years ago, Groovy Bot had allowed users to converge on Discord for listening parties, aggregating music from platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud, Deezer, Apple Music, and Tidal. But as Groovy’s founder, Nik Ammerlaan, admitted to The Verge on Tuesday, “something like 98 per cent of the tracks played on Groovy were from YouTube,” a fact that apparently went unnoticed by the streaming giant until recently.
“I’m not sure why they decided to send it [a cease and desist] now,” Ammerlaan told The Verge. “They probably just didn’t know about it, to be honest.”
Ammerlaan added that Groovy Bot has been a “huge weight” on his shoulders over the past five years and that he had long anticipated legal action from YouTube’s parent company, Google. “It was just a matter of seeing when it would happen,” he said.
In a message announcing the bot’s closure, Ammerlaan said that Groovy would officially end its service on August 30, and that premium subscribers would be receiving a refund in the coming weeks.
In a statement to The Verge, a YouTube spokesperson confirmed that it had taken action against Groovy over terms of service violations, which included “modifying the service and using it for commercial purposes.”
Although Google’s cease and desist has meant curtains for Groovy, similar Discord music bots like Octave, Hydra, and Chip still seem to be safe — for now, at least. Rythm — which is currently run on more than 10 million servers, making it the most widely-used Discord music bot by far — is also still up and running, although it’s safe to assume that its days may be numbered at this point.
The legal action against Groovy comes amid a flurry of shutdowns of YouTube video downloading sites, which could be a potential indication that the platform — and the RIAA — are increasingly seeking to get litigious when it comes to third-party ventures that violate its terms of service.