Co-founder of defunct streaming site Grooveshark dead at 28

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 21, 2015 10:15 IST

Josh Greenberg, co-founder of Grooveshark, an early leader in music streaming that recently closed under the threat of crushing financial penalties to record labels, has died at 28.

Greenberg died on Sunday evening at his home in Gainesville, Florida, the university town where he helped launch the site in 2006.

The cause of death was unclear but there was no evidence of foul play or suicide, the Gainesville police department said on Twitter.

Greenberg, who lived with his girlfriend who was away for the weekend, had been planning new projects and was "more relieved than depressed" by the end of Grooveshark, his mother Lori Greenberg was quoted as saying by The Gainesville Sun newspaper.

An autopsy to be conducted on Tuesday should uncover any immediate ailments in Greenberg's heart or brain, officials said. Failing that, toxicology results could take up to three months.

Grooveshark was one of the pioneering sites that offered unlimited, on-demand music, but unlike later platforms such as Spotify, the company initially had few licensing deals with record labels.

With its young, entrepreneurial spirit, Grooveshark was often described as the Facebook of music, but its trajectory was less smooth.

Greenberg and Grooveshark's other top executive, Sam Tarantino, faced $736 million in penalties after a judge ruled last year that they actively encouraged employees to upload copyrighted material.

Rather than go to trial, Grooveshark – which claimed 30 million monthly users – went dark on April 30 in a settlement with major record labels.

As part of the deal, Greenberg and Tarantino offered a public apology and handed back copyrighted files.

A third founder, Colombian-born Andres Barreto, left Grooveshark before its end and has been involved in start-ups in the US and Latin America.

At its peak, the service tallied between 35 million and 40 million users and employed 145 people. But it always operated without the necessary licensing rights from labels and music publishers, giving users an unrestricted ability to upload and stream copyrighted music files.

(With inputs from agencies)

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