Grooveshark’s Dead: LONG LIVE Free Music Streaming

groovesharksdeadlonglivefreemusicstreaming.jpgOne of the first articles I penned on HowToSaveMoney.ca was all about how to listen to unlimited free music legally and the centerpiece of that article was a music streaming service called Grooveshark.

They were the first purportedly legal streaming site that allowed you to play just about any song, from any artist, anywhere in the world. They made a big show of saying they had the artist’s best interests at heart and that they were paying proper royalties to rights holders.

Well, that was partially true, they did pay some (very small) royalties to a few artists, but it turns out they didn’t actually have any long-term legit deals with the big record labels. They were committing major copyright infringement from the beginning and they knew it. Their CEO was even found out to be telling all employees to upload copyrighted songs to their service en masse via an internal email.

They also made a pretend farce at responding to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests by removing songs and then almost instantly uploading them again so that their users didn’t miss out on their favourites.

Grooveshark did, for a very brief period of time, actually sign a deal with one of the major record labels: EMI. But, that only lasted a matter of months before EMI realized that Grooveshark wasn’t actually paying them their royalties as agreed upon.

Grooveshark Is Now Officially Dead

The unlimited streaming version of Grooveshark’s service launched in April of 2008.

I started listening to it April of 2010 when they were still pretending to be legal even though the first lawsuit had been filed against them already.

Finally, a few weeks ago (a full 7 years after launching), Grooveshark shut down, again in April. It seems all major Grooveshark happenings occur in April - my starting to use the service being the most significant, of course!

The shutdown came after they used highly paid lawyers to battle multiple lawsuits against 3 major record labels allowing them to continue operating for more than 5 years after the first lawsuit was filed. It just goes to show you how long people and companies can get away with breaking the law before they are finally brought to justice - it’s kind of sickening really.

They continued to have hundreds of millions of users throughout that time too! All the while, they undoubtedly raked in a fortune in advertising dollars so they could keep paying their over-priced lawyers … but not the artists … never the artists. Seems fair right? Lawyers always find a way to get paid...

The Day The Music Died For Me (And Millions More)

I tend to try and stay on the right side of the law both online and offline. That doesn’t mean I’ve never broken any laws, but I generally try not to.

I don’t torrent, I didn’t use Napster, I’ve never pirated software in my adult life, I don’t download movies or TV shows (even before Netflix), and I’ve never had an emulator running on one of my own computers, even though I’m a huge video game fan. I believe people should get paid for their work, but I will also gladly take it for free or very cheap, if I can find a legal way to make that happen.

Related: Free Internet TV For Canadians

Given that, I’d like to say that once I found out Grooveshark probably wasn’t legit, that I quickly jumped ship and started listening to music elsewhere.

Sadly, it isn’t true.

I continued to listen until the service shut down on April 30, 2015 when my Grooveshark app mostly stopped functioning. After several days of trying to get it to work properly, I went online and found out the service was no more - entirely shut down as per the terms of the lost lawsuit.

Why?

Well, my rationalizations are many:

  • There weren’t very many good music streaming services available to Canadians back when I discovered the lawsuit news.
  • I was still delusionally holding out hope that Grooveshark was true to their word and were actually paying royalties to most artists and were just having problems negotiating deals with one or two record labels stuck in the dark ages.
  • The inertia of having built a library of my favourite songs in Grooveshark and really being too busy/lazy to do that over again using another service.

Now, I have no choice, so I’ve been test driving newer services that have sprung up in recent years that are actually 100% legal and have bona fide agreements with all the rights holders (no, really!).

The Top 3 Alternatives To Grooveshark

Erase Your Debt Fast By Lowering Interest Rates

eraseyourdebtfastbyloweringinterestrates.jpgIt's a fact, many Canadians are deeply in debt!

Not just mortgage debt either, but consumer debt like credit cards, car loans, payday loans, and lines of credit. According to The Globe And Mail, non-mortgage debt is on the rise again coming in at an average of $21,428 per person!

If you include mortgages, then the numbers get bigger, MUCH bigger. We're talking $1,529,000,000,000 (1.53 trillion) spread across all Canadians, which works out to 1.63 dollars for every dollar of disposable income earned. That means someone who takes home $50,000 in income after taxes would have $81,500 in debt.

If you're in debt, I hope you're working hard to get out of it as fast as you can!

Avoiding debt isn't always possible because of unfortunate circumstances, but it really isn't a burden you want to carry with you for long either. You see, once debt rises to a high enough level, it becomes crippling and the interest payments make it almost impossible to make any progress on the principle amount owed. Some people will recommend cutting your expenses to the bone, others will suggest a second job, while still others will say to pay yourself first.

These are all good suggestions, but I think the best place to start is cutting and juggling your interest rates as much as possible so you immediately have more cash flow to pay down your loans much faster.

First - A Warning

Some of the methods I'm going to speak about here can make it seem like you all of a sudden have extra money and breathing room, which can prompt some individuals to increase spending and run up even more debt. That's exactly what you want to avoid!

If you don't have the discipline to handle more available credit, then many of these strategies are not for you. You might be better served by that second job or cutting up all your plastic and trying a debt snowball.

How To Reduce Your Loan Interest Rates

Avoiding The Costly Upsell On Car Repairs

avoidingthecostlyupselloncarrepairs.jpgI’ve written quite a few articles about saving money on cars and car repairs and even buy my own parts to save up to 90%, but I’m still far from a car expert. Just the other day I was booking an appointment to get my 2013 Santa Fe serviced, when it hit me that I may have succumbed to the upsell many times in the past.

When I called to make the appointment, the friendly lady on the line started giving me all kinds of recommendations. She informed me that my vehicle was due to have the brakes inspected and lubricated to prolong their life, that my tires should be checked for alignment to avoid tire wear, and one other thing that I can’t remember right now.

Luckily I had my wits about me, so I politely inquired about the cost of each of the services she offered me, the benefits of doing the service, and if it was necessary under the regular maintenance required for the warranty.

The brake service itself was $200 and as I started declining the services, she started offering me cheaper options ending with the $25 alignment test.

They Almost Had Me

How To Make A Credit Card Extended Warranty Claim

howtomakeacreditcardextendedwarrantyclaim.jpgYou might not know it, but many credit cards come with a lot of additional perks and insurance coverage these days in addition to the rewards we have all become accustomed to. Many people can’t be bothered to look into the fine print about their coverage, but It really pays to pay attention to these things.

How much does it pay exactly?

Well, for me, I was able to make a successful claim for $363.78 to repair my relatively new washer and dryer set (full details on that story down below)!

Not bad eh? But, how did I do it?

1) Make Sure Your Policy Covers The Item In Question

Most insurance policies have limitations, but after reading the fine print of dozens of policies myself, they are usually pretty reasonable. Before buying a product and counting on extra warranty coverage from your credit card, first make sure that the item is indeed covered under the warranty.

What you are looking for is extended warranty coverage details that should be included in the information package they sent you with your credit card. If not, the details may be available through your bank’s website or you can call the number on the back of your card and request they send them to you.

Related: How To Get A Better Insurance Rate

What you will mostly likely find is that the coverage extends your manufacturer’s warranty by doubling it up to an additional year. This means that if a product has 3 months of warranty coverage, it will double to 6 months. If it has 1 year of coverage, it will double to two years. If it has 3 years of coverage, you will get 1 extra year making it 4 years total.

Common exclusions are for extremely expensive items like motorized vehicles of any kind, jewellery, items that wear out due to regular wear and tear (think tires and brakes), and items that come with an original manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or more.

In the latter case, sometimes you can still get the extra time tacked on but you usually need to register the product with your credit card company (or their insurance underwriter) first. Some cards also have a dollar limit over which you also have to register the product to be eligible, but most don’t.

2) Pay For Your Purchase With Your Credit Card

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