With a 35% share of the global music streaming market, Spotify is one of the most popular streaming services in the world. The platform has always been a popular choice for K-Pop fans, who have now been left reeling after learning that K-Pop songs distributed by popular music company Kakao M have been removed from all Spotify territories globally.
At the beginning of February, Spotify finally launched its platform in South Korea, where streaming services like Melon and Genie have dominated the market for years. However, from day one, no music distributed by Kakao M was available for streaming on Spotify Korea. This is likely because Kakao M is the company in charge of Melon, Spotify’s biggest direct competitor in the country.
Naturally, Korean fans who’d been hoping to try the service were disappointed. Now, international fans are being affected too. As of March 1, all songs distributed by Kakao M have been removed from Spotify in all territories around the world.
Since Kakao M distributes music for many of the biggest K-Pop agencies, numerous groups’ tracks are now completely missing from the platform. The list of affected artists includes:
- MONSTA X
- The Boyz
- Epik High
- Cosmic Girls
- and many more
Any and all songs these groups released through Kakao M since 2019 are no longer available for streaming on Spotify. While fans in some territories have reported that a few of the songs are still available to them, it’s unclear whether they’ll also be removed shortly.
As of yet, neither Spotify nor Kakao M has issued a statement on why the songs have been removed. However, Epik High’s Tablo did take to Twitter to shed some light on the situation. In his tweet, Tablo referred to a disagreement between Kakao M and Spotify. “Regardless of who is at fault,” he noted, “Why is it always the artists and the fans that suffer when businesses place greed over art?”
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?
— 에픽하이 타블로 | Tablo of Epik High (@blobyblo) February 28, 2021
Unsurprisingly, K-Pop fans around the world are disappointed and angry at the decision. Many fanbases are banding together to demand answers from both Kakao M and Spotify, with both “Spotify” and “Kakao M” reaching the top five worldwide trends on Twitter.