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

Rocket Player, an app with more than 10 million downloads, has been removed from the Play Store by Google earlier this week.
August 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 Customers should download until the stopgap instance is unpublished.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.