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Spotify Removes Hundreds of K-pop Songs, Here's Why

Songs of IU, Epik High, and Seventeen were among those removed.
by Ara Eugenio
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Photo/s: Instagram/??????? IU

In case you haven't noticed yet, entire discographies of some of your favorite K-pop artists were removed from Spotify. The streaming giant blamed it on expired licensing agreement with Korean distributors.

Spotify told NME that songs under music label Kakao M would no longer be available to the platform's global audience starting March 1, "despite [their] best efforts". 

It's a massive loss in reach for the cultural force, considering how the streaming platform has over 345 million listeners in nearly 170 markets around the world.

"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," a Spotify spokesperson said.

It is unclear why the licensing agreement ended, but Tablo of Epik High appealed on Twitter last week for a resolution as their new album was among the first casualties of the fallout.  

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"Regardless of who is at fault, why is it always the artists and the fans that suffer when businesses place greed over art?," the veteran rapper said.

Apart from Epik High, IU, Mamamoo, CL, SEVENTEEN, and Nu’est were among the artists whose songs were removed. Stan account @lemonphobic listed in a thread the full list of artists. 

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Since the removal, fan accounts have reported their favorite artists' loss in "massive amounts of streams on Spotify due to the removal", NME reported.

A fan account dedicated to group SEVENTEEN’s Spotify statistics had lost nearly one billion streams after their music was removed from Spotify, it said.

Global sensation BTS appeared to have dodged the bullet as they were reported to have ended their contract with Kakao M prior to the break up. Their collabs Kakao M's artists such as IU and Younha, however, weren't saved. 

“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," said Spotify in their statement.

"We remain committed to working with local rights holders including KakaoM, to help grow the Korean music market and overall streaming ecosystem together," said Spotify in their statement.

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