Kpop songs distributed by Kakao M have been removed from Spotify, including songs of famous Kpop artists such as IU
Spotify is one of the most popular streaming platforms in the world, holding 35% share of the global music streaming market. This is the platform used by many Kpop fans, but now audiences are confused when the songs distributed by the music company Kakao M have been removed from Spotify globally.
At the beginning of February, Spotify finally launched its platform in South Korea, where streaming services like Melon and Genie have dominated the market for years. no music distributed by Kakao M was available for streaming on Spotify Korea. This is because Kakao M has a close relationship with Melon – Spotify’s biggest competitor in Korea.
Naturally, Korean fans who’d been hoping to try the service were disappointed and international fans are being affected too. On March 1, all songs distributed by Kakao M were removed on Spotify in all countries and regions. Since Kakao M distributes music for many of the biggest K-Pop agencies, numerous groups’ tracks are now completely missing from this platform..
There are about 200 Kpop artists whose tracks have been removed from Spotify, including famous names such as IU, MAMAMOO, SEVENTEEN, Epik High, Sunmi, … Although BTS‘s songs are distributed by another unit, they are also partly affected when products that some BTS members collaborated with K-pop artists such as eight (IU ft. SUGA), Winter Flower (Younha ft. RM), … were also deleted.
The list of affected artists includes:
and many more
All songs released via Kakao M since 2019 are no longer available on Spotify. Although fans in some regions announced that some songs still exist, it is not clear if they will be removed soon.
Tablo (Epik High) was one of the first artists to speak up. After Epik High’s latest album, Epik High Is Here, was removed from Spotify, the male rapper wrote: “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?”
Not only was Tablo dissatisfied, but Kpop fans around the world also became angry and disappointed with the decision of the two companies. Many fanbases are banding together to demand answers from both Kakao M and Spotify, with both “Spotify” and “Kakao M” reaching the top five worldwide trends on Twitter.
In a statement via NME — a British media, Spotify explained: “Kakao M’s catalogue will no longer be available to users around the globe from March 1, 2021 due to the expiration of our license.” Spotify left hope for users, however, when it hinted that they “hope [the] disruption will be temporary.”
Spotify said: “The fact that we have not yet reached 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 Kakao M, to help grow the Korean music market and overall streaming ecosystem together.”