Just weeks after forcing the Groovy Discord music bot offline, Google-owned YouTube is now turning its attention to Rythm, the most popular music bot on Discord. The search giant has sent a cease and desist to the owners of Rythm, a bot that lets Discord users play music from YouTube videos and has more than 560 million users.
Google wants the Rythm bot closed down within seven days, and the service is complying by shutting down its bot on September 15th.
Rythm is currently installed on more than 20 million Discord servers alone. Rythm has more than 560 million Discord users, and 30 million of them actively use the service each month. Given Discord has 150 million monthly active users, this shutdown is a huge blow to a core feature of Discord that’s used by around 20 percent of its userbase.
“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.”
The Rythm bot team is working on “something new in the music space that we’re very excited about,” says Yoav. There will be some form of connection to Discord, but the team isn’t ready to talk more about their upcoming project just yet. Rythm has been a full time job for Yoav, and it took 16 servers with more than 4TB of RAM and over 1,000 CPU cores to power this Discord music bot, illustrating how popular the service had become.
“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 might feel like a core part of Discord, they have been enabled by third parties for years, allowing Discord to avoid scrutiny or legal action from companies like YouTube. Groovy and Rythm shutting down will force many Discord users to look for alternatives, but smaller bot developers could soon end up in a similar position if they attempt to fill the giant gap.
YouTube and Discord do appear to be working on some form of alternative, though. Discord has been testing a social party feature on its service for the past 10 months, and it allows Discord users to form a YouTube watch party. It’s not a straight replacement for music bots on Discord, but if the feature ever officially launches then it will be an official way to watch YouTube content inside Discord.
We’ve reached out to both Google and Discord to comment on the Rythm shutdown. Discord declined to comment, and Google did not respond by the time of publication.
Update, September 13th 5:30AM ET: Article updated with Discord’s decision not to comment, and more details on Rythm active user numbers.