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YouTube nukes popular ‘Groovy,’ ‘Rythm’ Discord music bots for breaking platform’s ToS [U]

YouTube is first and foremost a place to share videos, but the platform has long been a great place to stream music essentially for free. Sometimes, that functionality gets abused, and YouTube has to step in, which is what happened recently with the popular Discord service “Groovy Bot” and, after that, “Rythm.”

Groovy Bot is a simple Discord server add-on that allows users to play music within their Discord servers to create “listening parties.” The music, though, is sourced from YouTube using the platform’s official APIs, something that’s against Google’s Terms of Service.

Google confirmed to The Verge that it was issuing a cease and desist order on Groovy, giving the creators seven days to comply. In a statement, the company explains: “We notified Groovy about violations of our Terms of Service, including modifying the service and using it for commercial purposes.”

Groovy Bot will officially shut down on August 30, with users who paid for the add-on getting refunds if their service goes beyond that date. It’s been estimated that the service had over 250 million users. A message from the bot’s creators explains:

It’s with a heavy heart today that I announce Groovy is shutting down. The team has been mulling over this decision for a while now and, unfortunately, there’s no path forward that includes Groovy. On August 30th, Groovy will end its service. Any Premium users who paid for service beyond this date will receive a refund over the next few weeks.

While Groovy Bot did also support sourcing music from Spotify and Soundcloud, among other services, the developer said that around “98%” of tracks played were sourced from YouTube. While Groovy’s owner said this action was something that was expected, the co-owner of competing service Rythm said there were no plans to shut down the service even though it likely breaks the same rules.

Update 9/13: As suspected by many when Groovy was targeted in August, Google/YouTube have now gone after another popular Discord music bot, Rythm. The service had an offering very similar to that of Groovy and had over 560 million users. Rythm will shut down on September 15 in compliance with Google’s request. The developers teased to The Verge that a new project is in the works.

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