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Missing your bias? Here’s why Spotify removed hundreds of K-Pop songs

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Mar 01, 2021 6:21 am Updated Mar 09, 2021 11:17 pm

In the midst of a licensing agreement between global music platform Spotify and Korean music distributor KakaoM, you might have noticed that some K-Pop hits have been removed from Spotify—and no, it's not because they're not K-pop fans.

In a statement shared with music site NME.com earlier today, Spotify said that a fallout with the licensing contract with KakaoM led to the global removal.

“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,” shared a Spotify spokesperson.

“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.”

Spotify recently launched in South Korea on February 1 of this year but failed to secure an initial licensing contract with Kakao M. This time, the Korean label has pulled its artists from the site 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. —Spotify

Meanwhile, Kakao M also released a statement following the incident.

"KakaoM has had an agreement with Spotify on overseas music distribution. We are currently negotiating our contract with them for Korea, but we were notified of our contract ending for everywhere else on February 28th.

"We asked to renew the contract. However, Spotify said that the Korean and overseas contracts have to be negotiated simultaneously, so the overseas service is currently disabled. We are still talking about distributions."

The removal happened last night, Feb. 28, as “Kakao M” landed on Twitter's trending list shortly after.

We asked to renew the contract. However, Spotify said that the Korean and overseas contracts have to be negotiated simultaneously, so the overseas service is currently disabled. We are still talking about distributions. —Kakao M

Meanwhile, artist and singer Lea Salonga also joined the conversation as she shared a brief Twitter exchange with Epik High member Tablo over the abrupt Spotify removal.

‘Regardless of who is at fault, why is it always the artists and the fans that suffer when businesses place greed over art?’ Tablo inquired.

‘That sucks. This album is so effing good and needs to be heard by as many folks as possible.’

Per Soompi.com, here are some artists whose discographies have been affected by the agreement:

  • SEVENTEEN
  • IU 
  • LOONA
  • ASTRO
  • NU’EST
  • MOMOLAND
  • MAMAMOO
  • Epik High
  • CL
  • MONSTA X


Photo from Szabo Viktor on Unsplash