Google-owned YouTube is starting to crack down on Discord music robots. The search giant has sent termination to the owners of the popular Groovy Bot, which allows Discord users to play music from YouTube videos and is installed on more than 16 million Discord servers. Google wants the service gone in seven days, and Groovy complies by closing the fine on August 30.
“Groovy has been a big part of my life for the last five years. It started because my friend’s bot sucked and I thought I could do a better one, says Nik Ammerlaan, Groovy Bot owner, in a message announcing the closure. Groovy Bot sources music from YouTube and lets Discord users play and share it on servers where the bot is installed.
Groovy Bot opens for a social listening party on Discord, largely using the audio from YouTube videos. It has become hugely popular in the last five years, with some estimates suggesting that it has more than 250 million users. It has now caught the attention of Google and YouTube.
“I’m not sure why they decided to send it [a cease and desist] now, says Ammerlaan in an interview with The Verge. “They probably did not know about it, to be honest.” Ammerlaan admits that Groovy Bot has had a “big weight” on his shoulders for the past five years, and that Google’s actions were always something he saw coming. “It was just to see when it would happen,” says Ammerlaan.
Although Groovy Bot supports Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud and other services, “approximately 98 percent of the tracks played on Groovy are from YouTube”, Ammerlaan admits. Google’s move to force Groovy Bot to disconnect may mean that we will now see similar actions against other Discord bot owners.
Rythm, the most popular Discord music bot, is still strong … for now. “We do not plan to close at this time,” wrote a co-owner of Rythm bot, Jet, in a message to the user community. Rythm is installed on almost 20 million Discord servers and says that it has more than 560 million users as a result.
We tried to contact one of the owners of Rythm, but after responding for the first time, the owner did not respond to inquiries about whether Google had issued a termination. If Google is not happy with Groovy Bot, it’s hard to imagine that it’s going to let Rythm continue as well.
The Groovy Bot shutdown comes just weeks after several YouTube video download sites disappeared by accident. The removal of this fine also leaves a big gap in Discord’s fine offer. “We take the rights of others seriously and demand that developers who make robots for Discord do the same,” a spokesman for Discord said in a statement to The Verge. “If a fine imposed on Discord violates the rights of others, that third party or Discord may take action.”
We contacted Google to comment on the stop and waiver order against Groovy Bot, but the company did not respond in time for publication.