Spotify has seen ‘hundreds’ of K-Pop songs pulled from its global catalog due to an expired licensing deal with Korean distributor record label and publisher, Kakao M.
K-Pop artists whose releases have been affected by the removal include SEVENTEEN, GFRIEND and MONSTA X amongst many others.
NME reports that 37.5% of songs featured on last year’s Top 400 Song Chart from Korea’s Gaon Music Chart were distributed by Kakao M, whose parent company also owns popular Korean music streaming platform, MelOn.
The news comes just four weeks after Spotify’s own service arrived in South Korea, which was launched without Kakao M’s catalog.
According to a statement issued by Spotify to K-Pop news site Soompi today, the launch of the service in the market last month and Kakao Ms’ catalog removal are “unrelated”.
In its own statement, KakaoM said that is “currently continuing” negotiations with Spotify and that its license expired and catalog pulled “due to Spotify’s policy that they must proceed with the domestic and global contracts at the same time”.
“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.”
A Spotify spokesperson said: “Spotify can confirm that starting March 1st 2021, KakaoM’s catalogue will no longer be available to our listeners worldwide due to the expiration of our licence.
“We have been working with KakaoM over the last year and a half to renew the global licensing agreement so that their artists’ music would remain available to Spotify’s 345m+ 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.
“The fact that we have not yet reached an 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.”
“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.”
Said Kakao M: “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.
“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.”Music Business Worldwide