(Update: it’s back) Google pulled popular music player Rocket Player off the Play Store

by: Bogdan PetrovanAugust 25, 2014

rocket music player

Update: Developer Justin Tipton of JRT Studios reached out over the weekend to let us know that Rocket Player has been reinstated. Here’s his statement:

I’m excited to let you know that Rocket Player is back in the Google Play store!  Our eleven-day hiatus from Google Play store is over. Our customers have been very understanding and have really powered us through this rough patch. We can’t wait to get back to business as usual and continue our quest to make the best music player we can.

 For now, there are two Rocket Player apps in the Play Store, which is confusing. We put in the new version as a stopgap until Google reinstated the original version. Customers should download https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jrtstudio.AnotherMusicPlayer until the stopgap instance is unpublished.

Original post from August 13:

Rocket Player, an app with more than 10 million downloads, has been removed from the Play Store by Google earlier this week.

Rocket Player, which we included in our top ten music players list from July, has been available in the store since January 2012, amassing 144,000 ratings with an average score of 4.3. Google pulled it on Monday; a cached version of the app page can still be viewed by searching for “Rocket Player”. The app can still be downloaded from developer JRTStudio’s website, as well as from the Amazon Appstore.

We’ve reached out to Justin Tipton, founder of JRTStudio, for details on precisely what happened. Tipton did not want to share the reasons why he believes Google pulled his app, but said he was only offered vague information about the issue by the company.

“This could end up being a major loss for myself, my employees and contractors. Each day we are not in the Play Store is critical. While we still have a great app in iSyncr, Rocket Player was just recently updated with a bunch of new UI components and ready to push further up the charts. Google has given us vague information about the issue, but not enough to share at this time.”

Tipton contacted Google and is hopeful that the app will be restored soon.

At this point, we can only speculate about the reasons that caused the suspension. Very likely, it’s an issue with copyright infringement – media apps often get into hot water for potential or actual copyright infringement.

Google has been criticized in the past (a recent example) for its opaque and inflexible way of handling app suspensions. The main issue is that Google’s support staff doesn’t always offer a clear reason why the app was flagged for removal, and even when it does, the appeal procedures are limited. That leaves well-meaning developers scrambling to identify issues and get in touch with Google managers.

  • Mike Reid

    Sometimes competitors will launch a complaint, rightly or wrongly.

    • crutchcorn

      Seems like what’ve happens

  • Michael Hall

    I use Rocket Player in preference to Googles own. It’s more intuitive, easier to use and doesn’t keep reappearing without initiation and burning up the battery!

    Maybe that has something to do with it!

    It seems that sadly, Google gets more like Microsoft every day……

    • MSmith79

      Well possibly. Unless of course there was a legitimate reason. We don’t really know because the explanation that Google gave the developer wasn’t shared. The developer said their reason was vague, which may be true…or may not be. We don’t really know.

    • Unknown

      Does Google Play really burn up your battery? Never knew that.

    • fredphoesh

      idiotic comment michael.
      its a knee jerk comment that has zero basis, but all you wanted to say was how google is becoming like microsoft, and this just happened to be a convenient story for you to say your piece.

      • kg2105

        lol owned, completely called him on it.

        • Joshua Hill

          Lol, all the fanbois are out. Go buy an Apple product!

    • cipnrkorvo

      Rocket Player is the best! So glad it could stay!
      Funny you should say this now that Microsoft is making a big effort to be more and more open about what they do. Hell they’re even embracing open source!

  • PaisanNYC

    I purchased the pro version, and have not reinstalled it on the same phone yet, since I installed a fresh stock ROM on it. Now I don’t have access to what I purchased anymore?

  • Hellz

    googles policy regarding copyright infringement is strange. you actually dont need any proof to do it, you just need to claim something infringed your copyright and they will pull it down. same thing happens on youtube. i remember one youtube partner talking about it. he makes game reviews and he gave a negative review to one game and maker of that game requested from youtube to take it down claiming his copyright was infringed, even though that particular youtuber got a review copy from a maker and explained to a maker what he is going to do. he also runs a podcast with 4 other people and in one episode they played 2 minutes long trailer of some nintendo game. nintendo sued to google and asked for all money they earned from commercials on that video even though video lasts 2,5 hours and they played 2 minute trailer. youtube did what nintendo requested

    • Arturo Raygoza

      What podcast are they? I like the fact that just because they did an honest review they were brought down, they didn’t sell out

      • Hellz

        it was totalbiscuit and polaris network’s cooptional podcast

  • sk’p

    To all scratching their heads about the possible reason of this, just to inform them, it was (or is) a straight rip-off from Cyanogenmod’s own music player, Apollo.

    • droidtomtom

      First thing I do is freeze Apollo and install Rocket Player. They are nothing alike from a user, usability and functionality perspective. So are you claiming Rocket Player is using Apollo’s audio engine?

    • Arturo Raygoza

      Since when does google give a damn about cyanogen? Didn’t they ban them too?

      • fredphoesh

        oh dear… brain surgery needed…

  • Jesus

    … Tried it, didn’t like it. Crossfading was not free.

    Get JetAudio; crossfading is free, and it is just as intuitive. Looks nicer too.

    • Arturo Raygoza

      Not about media players

    • Iliyan Conev

      And top of that it does not work with ART. Cashes constantly and it was turning on in my pocket.

  • Arturo Raygoza

    Wtf google? Mind your own damn business for once!! This is a great app that I even bought it twiice! I don’t want play music app, I want rocket player!

    • The-Sailor-Man

      Don’t you wanna know first the reason? And then to decide who to swear

      • Arturo Raygoza

        That’s the point, there is NO reason!! Just drunk on power

        • fredphoesh

          Arturo, dont be an idiot. Why believe what this developer says as “the truth” when he says he was given “vague information”. Google, of course, make profit from selling popular apps, they would not pull something if there was not a good reason, there is NO reason to think they would pull it for “power”, why would they need to bully some crappy, tiny, insignificant music app?

          • Joshua Hill

            And I’m sure they wouldn’t limit our number of devices allowed on Play Music subscriptions without a good reason. I guess the music industry leaning on them is a good enough reason for you. Wake up, Google is a business they don’t exist just to keep you Google fanbois happy. Sometimes businesses make bad calls but if no ones willing to call them on it, ask for more info., etc nothing will ever change.

    • Android Developer

      How and why did you buy it twice?

      • Arturo Raygoza

        Originally bought it off my old google account, got new phone wanted a new account besides forgetting old account password so bought it again. I’m sure I could’ve hasseled the.makers to transfer it or something but I’m not like that

        • Android Developer

          have you tried to restore your password?
          I think you can move apps and information between accounts, instead of starting from a totally new one.

          • Arturo Raygoza

            I’m sure I could’ve but I kinda wanted a new email anyways, I also bought pocketcasts twice and that one is like 5 bucks, and torque

  • Lilith_Black

    I prefer poweramp myself: the audio presets and aestheticcs work well for me

    • Arturo Raygoza

      This isn’t about your personal preference of media players.

  • Rye

    I wanted to know the story behind it. It is a very good app that worth every penny of it. The best part of it is that it has ‘gapless’ technology that for me is a true big deal. I wish I could have the full version on my new phone that I just bought last night.

  • fredphoesh

    Hmm sounds suspicious to me… that google gave him “vague information”… My guess is he knows EXACTLY why it was pulled, but it will not look good for him to SAY the reason, so he mumbles something vacuous…

  • Theo

    Rocket is ugly and so gingerbread. I prefer n7player.

  • nilbud

    Google would rather hire marketing scum than support staff.

  • DarxideGarrison

    Well whatever the issue is, hopefully it can be resolved. Rocket Player is a damn good app

  • jellyfish

    This is by far my favorite player for Android. Please tell me this is just temporary.

  • Poweramp. Enough said.

    • gotluck

      poweramp cannot cast to chromecast, google play music cant cast local music to chromecast, rocket player wins for me

      • poweramp cannot cast to chromecast …. yet*

        • gotluck

          it’s taking forever!

  • smokebomb

    I just downloaded this app. It’s pretty ugly and it doesn’t recognize songs cached from google play on local storage. I’ve also never had an issue with battery. Even when I had phones with bad batteries like the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus.

  • Joshua Hill

    Bad Google! Can we get a scroogled ad out of this micro$oft?

  • Android Developer

    Can anyone guess based on the app’s behavior, why Google did it?

  • David Frank

    I drafted an opinion on a Google Play app, but after taking the time to draft it, I found I had to login___OK.. Oops, let;s just blowaway anything you had to say, what a waste on time the site is