Spotify removes hundreds of K-pop music following licensing dispute, leaves k-pop fans cancelling memberships.
Just one month after launching in South Korea, Spotify has pulled the plug on hundreds of K-pop artists from their streaming app. The decision comes amid disputes with South Korean distributor Kakao M, who has its own streaming service.
Spotify confirmed that the Korean songs would no longer be available in a statement to NME. The streaming service stated that the Korean songs would no longer be available “due to the expiration of our licence.” However, Kakao M has hit back at Spotify, arguing that the tracks were no longer available purely because the streaming giant refused to renew the global licensing.
The K-pop phenomenon has taken over the world, hence why many are upset following the decision to remove said music from Spotify. With artists such as Sistar, Monsta X, and Epic High getting cut from the streaming service, many k-pop fans have since cancelled their Spotify membership in protest.
The BBC reports that South Korean distributor, Kakao M is currently responsible for 37.5% of the songs featured in the country’s Top 400 Yearly Song Chart in 2020. The company also owns MelOn – South Korea’s top music streaming service, which has over 8.81 million active users.
it better be temporary , I want oneus' discography back. thanks.pic.twitter.com/nNQqKUyFbh
— melissa🌹🔥 (@ravnsnoona) February 28, 2021
Speculators state that negotiations between the two streaming giants may have halted, and the deal between the two may have expired.
In their statement with NME, a spokesperson from Spotify stated, “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 KakaoM, to help grow the Korean music market and overall streaming ecosystem together.”
As negotiations with Spotify are ongoing, music from Kakao M can still be found on Apple Music and YouTube Music for all the international K-pop fans out there that can’t access MelOn.
Here are some of the artists that are heavily impacted from the Spotify – Kakao M disagreement. A gentle reminder that K-Pop is not just about the big 3 companies. These artists also contribute to the industry's continuity, and we need them in Spotify just as much. pic.twitter.com/YvwrkXOiDF
— fahmi • (@markwootings) February 28, 2021