K-Pop Returns To Spotify After Licensing Dispute Is Settled With Kakao Entertainment

Image credit: Heidi Fin

Spotify has announced that has reached an agreement with Kakao Entertainment, meaning hundreds of K-Pop tracks will be returning to the streaming platform.

Spotify recently announced that they have come to an agreement with Kakao Entertainment after a recent licensing dispute. The dispute led to hundreds of K-Pop tracks being taken off the platform just a month after their launch. 

The two companies weren’t able to come to an agreement previously and were stuck in a bitter dispute. It led to Kakao Entertainment – whose parent company Kakao Corp. owns the South Korean streaming giant MelOn. The previous license had expired and the two companies were unable to agree on new terms. 

It’s rumored that uproar from fans and Kakao artists such as IU and APink led Kakao to return to the negotiating table. The deal agreed is rumored to be not so similar to the original deal that Kakao was challenging.  

“We are pleased that Kakao Entertainment’s content and artists are back on Spotify, allowing our 345M+ global listeners across 170 countries to once again enjoy the music they love,” a Spotify spokesperson said. “Spotify’s mission has always been to connect artists to their fans all over the world and to give listeners access to all of the world’s music. We are delighted that our Korean listeners will now also be able to enjoy this local music alongside our 70 million+ songs and 4 billion+ playlists. We remain committed to making a positive impact on Korea’s music streaming ecosystem through our partnerships with artists, labels, and local rights holders.”

Kakao released a statement regarding the deal that reads: Kakao Entertainment Corp.(previously Kakao M) has entered into an agreement with Spotify and will sequentially provide its music content to Spotify for service in and beyond Korea. Through its diverse partnerships around the world including Spotify, Kakao Entertainment hopes that music lovers around the world can easily access its artists’ and music content to enjoy K-pop. Kakao Entertainment remains committed to the Korean music ecosystem and its growth and will continue protecting the rights of artists, labels, and local rights holders going forward.”

After a bit of a rocky launch, it seems that the transition into the South Korean market for Spotify is now well underway. In fact, so far they Spotify have increased its subscribers by 155 million, boasting 345 million average monthly users, to whom it currently offers more than 70 million tracks. Spotify users have also created a staggering 4.5 billion playlists. Both Spotify and the South Korean music market will certainly benefit from this agreement being reached. 

Music journalist and photojournalist based in Cornwall.

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