Hundreds of K-pop Releases Have Been Removed from Spotify; Epik High’s Tablo Raises His Voice About the Matter

Credit: Spotify, Kakao M
Credit: Spotify, Kakao M

Hundreds of K-pop music owned by Kakao M have been removed from the world’s largest music streaming site Spotify as of March 1.

“With the expiration of the existing licensing agreement with Kakao M, we will no longer be able to provide the catalog to fans and listeners around the world from March 1, 2021,” said an official at Spotify.

Among the artists whose discographies have been at least partially affected are IU, SEVENTEEN, NU’EST, MAMAMOO, Epik High, CL, GFRIEND, MONSTA X, Apink, THE BOYZ, Sunmi, (G)I-DLE, LOONA, SF9, HyunA, 4Minute, VIXX, INFINITE, Dreamcatcher, MOMOLAND, ASTRO, Zico, Block B, BEAST, Jessi, WJSN, AOA, BTOB, Golden Child, VICTON, Lovelyz, PENTAGON, ONEUS, Hyolyn, KARD, Brave Girls, CNBLUE, DIA, Younha, SECHSKIES, and many more.

Spotify Korea has been making all-out efforts over the past year and a half to continue to provide Kakao M artists’ music to fans around the world (more than 345 million users in 170 countries). An official shared, “Nevertheless, we have failed to reach an agreement on the new global license. We cannot reveal the terms of the contract in detail, but we have been making utmost efforts for the negotiation.”

Credit: Spotify, Kakao M

An official from Kakao M said, “We requested renewal of existing overseas contracts that were notified of expiration on Feb. 28, but according to Spotify’s policy, we had to proceed with domestic and overseas contracts altogether, and our global contract has currently expired. We are currently continuing our negotiations about the supply of music.”

With the news, some started to speculate that the negotiation hit a dead end when Spotify launched a Korean service despite the opposition of Kakao M, which owns Korea’s biggest music chart “Melon.”

Later in the day, Epik High’s Tablo raised his voice on the matter and tweeted, “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?”

Source (1, 2)

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