K-pop songs under Kakao M are no longer available on Spotify

K-pop songs under Kakao M are no longer available on Spotify

As February came to a close, music fans all over the world were stunned to discover that some of their favourite K-pop songs were no longer available on Spotify.

 

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The global streaming giant recently launched in Korea, competing alongside the likes of Melon, Genie, Flo (플로), and more. Melon is one of the top music streaming services in Korea and home to an extensive catalogue of homegrown songs.

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Its parent company, KakaoM, is the distributor of thousands of K-pop songs including hits by IU, MONSTA X, SEVENTEEN, LOONA, MAMAMOO, THE BOYZ, GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, ASTRO, and more.

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On 1 March, songs distributed by Kakao M have been reportedly removed from the global music platform, leaving both fans and artists devastated by the news.

Epik High's Tablo took to Twitter to tell fans that their latest album, Epik High Is Here, is no longer available to stream on Spotify. He also expressed his frustration at the current situation saying "Why is it always the artists and the fans that suffer when businesses place greed over art?"

Meanwhile, EN Management founder Eddie Nam (who manages artists like Epik High and Eric Nam) appealed to both parties to come up with a solution for both fans and artists' sake.

[UPDATE 1 MARCH 2021] A Spotify spokesperson confirmed the news to Bandwagon, saying that they've been working with Kakao M for the last year and a half to renew the global licensing agreement. "The fact that we have not yet reached an agreement on a new global deal is unfortunate for their artists, as well as for fans and listeners worldwide. It is our hope that this disruption will be temporary and we can resolve the situation soon." 

Read the full statement below:

Spotify can confirm that starting March 1st 2021, KakaoM’s catalogue will no longer be available to our listeners worldwide due to the expiration of our licence.

We have been working with KakaoM over the last year and a half to renew the global licensing agreement so that their artists’ music would remain available to Spotify’s 345M+ listeners in nearly 170 markets around the world.

Despite our best efforts, the existing licensing deal we had with KakaoM (which covered all countries other than South Korea) has come to an end.

The fact that we have not yet reached an agreement on a new global deal is unfortunate for their artists, as well as for fans and listeners worldwide.

It is our hope that this disruption will be temporary and we can resolve the situation soon. We remain committed to working with local rights holders including KakaoM, to help grow the Korean music market and overall streaming ecosystem together." 

Kakao M has also released an official statement regarding the removal of their catalogue from Spotify. According to Soompi, Kakao M stated:

Unrelated to our preexisting global licensing agreement with Spotify, Kakao M has been separately negotiating with Spotify regarding a domestic contract for the supply of music.

We separately received notice of the expiration of our license on February 28, and we requested a renewal of our existing global contract.”


With K-pop now a global phenomenon, thousands of international music fans voiced out their thoughts on Twitter.


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