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Hundreds of songs by many Korean artists have been removed from Spotify globally after the licensing deal between the music streaming platform and distributor, Kakao M, expired.
“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,” the music platform said in an official statement.
According to Spotify, they have been in contact with Kakao M over the past year for the renewal of a global licensing deal but did not arrive at an agreement.
“It is our hope that this disruption will be temporary and we can resolve the situation soon,” it added.
Because of the expired deal, a number of Kpop artist’s discography distributed by Kakao M have been removed from Spotify.
Kakao M also issued a statement regarding the situation, saying that they are in negotiation with Spotify for both domestic and global licensing agreements.
“Due to Spotify’s policy that they must proceed with the domestic and global contracts at the same time, our global contract has currently expired,” Soompi quoted Kakao M.
“We are currently continuing our negotiations about the supply of music,” the company added.
Among artists whose songs have been removed from the platform are IU, Zico, The Boyz, Seventeen, Epik High, Cravity, Mamamoo, G Friend, Monsta X, BTOB, Nu’est, A Pink, CL, Momoland, ASTRO, Pentagon, KARD, Infinite, and many more.
artists that had their stuff on spotify deleted, a thread— ً (@lemonphobic) February 28, 2021
Epik High’s Tablo took to social media to express his disappointment.
“Apparently a disagreement between our distributor Kakao M & Spotify has made our new album Epik High Is Here unavailable globally against our will,” the artist wrote on Twitter.
“Regardless of who is at fault, why is it always the artists and the fans that suffer when businesses place greed over art?” he added.
Apparently a disagreement between our distributor Kakao M & Spotify has made our new album Epik High Is Here unavailable globally against our will. Regardless of who is at fault, why is it always the artists and the fans that suffer when businesses place greed over art?— 에픽하이 타블로 | Tablo of Epik High (@blobyblo) February 28, 2021
Spotify entered the South Korean market in early February, competing with MelOn, the country’s top streaming platform under the management of Kakao M.