After news broke two weeks ago that Google-owned YouTube had forced Groovy bot offline, it was widely considered to be only a matter of time before the platform came for the other popular Discord bots that use it to source music. Now, it appears that Rythm’s number come up: YouTube has reportedly served the bot a cease-and-desist letter, which compelled it to go offline within seven days.
Discord music bots, which successfully avoided legal scrutiny for years, have long provided the platform’s users with a means to foster community by creating a shared playlists. Rythm is the most widely-used Discord music bot by a long shot, with an estimated 560 million Discord users, about 30 million of them are active each month. Prior to the shutdown, Rythm users had been able to feed the bot YouTube links, which would then populate a shared playlist for everybody in a given voice channel to enjoy. The company wrote in a post on its website that it plans to comply with the legal notice by shuttering its service on Sept. 15.
“Even though our current service is shutting down, we’re not going anywhere,” Rythm wrote in the bulletin. “We’ve spent the last year working on something brand new in the music space that will revolutionize how we all listen to music. We can’t share much yet, but keep Rythm in your servers and subscribe to our newsletter to get updates as we release them over the next few months.”
Those manning the bot, which had sourced and played music from YouTube in order to provide ambient background listening for Discord users, had reportedly been bracing for a sudden forced closure for months, particularly after noting that the legal teams over at YouTube—and the RIAA—had suddenly become very interested in third-party ventures that violate the platform’s terms of service.
“One way or another we knew this was due to happen eventually,” Yoav, the creator of Rythm bot, told The Verge in a statement via Discord. “Which is why we started working on something new a year ago. Groovy receiving one [legal notice] just meant it would happen sooner rather than later.”
In addition to taking legal action against the popular Groovy bot, YouTube had forced the shutdown of a number of popular video download sites in the last year, including YouTube-DL. The sudden litigious streak is a solid indication that the platform—and the RIAA—are increasingly interested in cracking down on third-party sites that violate YouTube’s copyrighted content.
“I believe that now that we received the letter, all music bots will be getting them too in the following weeks and I strongly believe all of them will shut down,” Yoav told The Verge. “As someone that was a very early user on Discord it’s hard to envision Discord without music bots, they’ve become key to the experience and bring so much fun and engagement to a community. It’s a sad end of an era here for everyone on the platform.”