Fans of Kpop felt their hearts drop when they realized all of their favourite tunes have been removed from Spotify today.
Hundreds of Kpop releases and entire discographies were removed from Spotify without warning to the shock of listeners worldwide.
A spokesperson for Spotify pinned the reason on the expiration of the original licensing agreement with Kakao M on 1 March 2021.
The statement reads:
“Due to the expiration of our original licensing agreement with Kakao M on March 1, 2021, we are no longer able to provide its catalogue to fans and listeners all over the world.”
“We have been making efforts in all directions over the past year and a half to renew the global licensing agreement so that we could continue to make Kakao M artists’ music available to fans all over the world, as well as our 345 million users in 170 different regions.”
“However, in spite of this, we were unable to reach an agreement about renewing our global license.”
Spotify went on to clarify that the issue had nothing to do with the launch of its service in South Korea.
“The matter of our global licensing agreement is unrelated to the launch of our service in South Korea.”
“We feel that this situation is deeply unfortunate for many artists, as well as fans and listeners all over the world, and we sincerely hope that we will be able to quickly resolve the current situation.”
“We will continue to do our utmost so that we can keep working with Korean rights holders, including Kakao M, and help both the Korean music market and overall streaming ecosystem grow together.”
On the other hand, Kakao M tells a different version of events. According to Kakao M, it was Spotify who did not want to renew the global licensing agreement even after a request by Kakao M.
The company stated that it’s still in the midst of negotiating with Spotify whether the catalogue of songs will be made available on the South Korean version of Spotify.
Spotify then updated their statement to reflect Kakao M’s statement.
“Unrelated to our preexisting global licensing agreement with Spotify, Kakao M has been separately negotiating with Spotify regarding a domestic contract for the supply of music,” stated Kakao M.
“Unrelated to the domestic contract, which we are still negotiating, we separately received notice of the expiration of our license on February 28, and we requested a renewal of our existing global contract.”
“Due to Spotify’s policy that they must proceed with the domestic and global contracts at the same time, our global contract has currently expired.”
“We are currently continuing our negotiations about the supply of music.”