Bollywood fans are upset after a failed licensing deal sees Indian label, Zee Music’s catalogue taken down from the music streaming service.

Spotify has removed hundreds of Bollywood songs after being unable to reach a licensing deal with copyright owners. Whilst fans are angry, Spotify hopes to be able to find a “creative solution” to restore the music.

The move to get rid of a catalogue of Bollywood music, including soundtracks from incredibly well-loved movies, is down to a licensing dispute. The finer details of this point are not widely known. All that is known is that the negotiations during the renewal of the licensing agreement fell through.

Why has Zee Music been taken off Spotify?

In a statement to Billboard, Spotify has said: “Throughout these negotiations, Spotify has tried to find creative ways to strike a deal with Zee Music and will continue our good faith negotiations in hopes of finding a mutually agreeable solution soon.”

To illustrate the magnitude of this catalogue cut, Apna Bana Le from the soundtrack to the 2022 Hindi film Bhediya has been the number one song in India for the past two weeks. It is also amongst the songs to be removed from the streaming platform.

Before the 14th of March (the final day Zee Music’s catalogue could be streamed on the service), the Indian label had over two dozen tracks on Spotify’s Daily Top 200 Songs chart for India. These included Bollywood hits such as Maiyya Mainu from Jersey (2022), the title tracks from Kalank (2019) and Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (2019), Makhna from Drive (2019), Namo Namo from Kedarnath (2018) and Zaalima from Raees (2017).

Zee Music is one of the India’s largest domestic music labels, with a legion of devoted fans behind it. Its YouTube subscriber base makes it the second largest YouTube music channel in the whole of India. As can be imagined, numerous fans have vocalised their discontent.

One fan wrote: “So at what point do Spotify put all the Bollywood songs back on cause I’m dying.”

Another expressed their chagrin at the abrupt removal. They wondered what they were supposed to do now that half of their playlist was missing ahead of their birthday party later that day.

Is there hope for Bollywood on Spotify?

Whilst this is understandably very upsetting for Bollywood fans, Spotify is unable to offer every single podcast and track in the world. Just like Netflix, Spotify can only offer content once deals have been struck with rights holders. Sometimes, music will disappear from the platform before reappearing on a rival service.

Spotify clearly stated that it hoped to reach a solution with Zee Music. Potentially, the removed music could, at some point, be reinstated. Fingers crossed the wait for this isn’t too long.

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