Chevrolet has now severed all ties with Grooveshark, and discontinued a lucrative advertising campaign with the company. In an email received by Digital Music News on Tuesday afternoon, an executive at parent group General Motors declined to offer any specific reasons for the discontinuation, but was absolutely clear on the pullout. “Chevrolet is no longer affiliated with Grooveshark in any manner,” the terse email confirmed.
The abrupt move appears motivated by Grooveshark’s extremely artist-unfriendly reputation, one that could easily tarnish the Chevrolet brand. That said, other discussions may have been happening in the background, from any number of companies unfriendly to Grooveshark. Other major corporations recently severing ties include Apple and Google, both of whom prevent Grooveshark from having a competitive app presence.
Which is exactly where Chevrolet stepped into a pile of brand-unfriendly controversy. On March 20th, Digital Music News discovered a splashy advertising campaign with heavy Chevy branding, one specifically designed to bolster Grooveshark’s HTML5, app-free workaround. The web-based mobile solution directly challenged the Apple and Google bans, and was a direct snub at litigating enemyUniversal Music Group.
This is what the Grooveshark site looked like on March 20th.
Shortly after that report was filed, the campaign appeared to be yanked. Chevrolet initially pointed Digital Music News to a Canadian-only campaign (the report was first filed in Toronto), with broader North American (or even global) plans unclear. That suggests some IP-related, location-specific confusion, though the latest correspondence confirms a broad, global pullout.
Dangling in the background is Universal Music Group, an extremely aggressive litigant against Grooveshark. Whether UMG played any role in the Chevrolet pullout is unclear, though whispers suggest that the label strongly pressured Apple and Google to sever their ties with Grooveshark or risk broader licensing issues. That has led Grooveshark to allege ‘tortious business interference,’ and even implicate Digital Music News as a co-conspirator in court proceedings.