After taking down the Groovy Discord music bot a few weeks ago, Google-owned YouTube is now focusing on Rythm, Discord’s most popular music bot.
The owners of Rythm, a bot that allows Discord users play music from YouTube videos and has over 560 million users, have received a cease and desist letter from Google.
Google requested that the Rythm bot be deactivated within seven days, and the service complied by deactivating its bot on September 15th.
Rythm can be found on more than 20 million Discord servers alone. Rythm has over 560 million Discord members, with 30 million of them using the service on a monthly basis.
Given Discord’s 150 million monthly active users, the discontinuation of a major function used by about 20% of its userbase is a significant blow.
“One way or another we knew this was due to happen eventually,” admits Yoav, the creator of Rythm bot, in a Discord message to The Verge. “Which is why we started working on something new a year ago. Groovy receiving one just meant it would happen sooner rather than later.”
According to Yoav, the Rythm bot team is working on “something new in the music space that we’re very excited about.” The crew isn’t ready to disclose about their forthcoming product yet, but there will be some sort of tie to Discord. Rythm has become Yoav’s full-time profession, and to power this Discord music bot, he needed 16 servers with over 4TB of RAM and over 1,000 CPU cores, demonstrating how popular the service had grown.
“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,” explains Yoav. “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.”
While music bots appear to be an integral component of Discord, they have been enabled by third parties for years, allowing Discord to dodge scrutiny and legal action from firms such as YouTube. Many Discord users will be forced to hunt for alternatives when Groovy and Rythm shut down, but smaller bot creators may find themselves in a similar situation if they try to fill the void.
However, it appears that YouTube and Discord are working on a solution. For the past ten months, Discord has been testing a social party feature that allows Discord users to form a YouTube viewing party. It’s not a direct substitute for Discord’s music bots, but it will be an official way to stream YouTube material inside Discord if the feature is ever released.