Image credit: RBW Entertainment

The streaming platform that launched in South Korea earlier this year hopes that the “disruption will be temporary”.

The music streaming platform Spotify has only recently launched in South Korea but it is already having some issues. Hundreds of K-pop releases have been removed worldwide as they continue to reach an agreement with distributor Kakao M. 

The streaming service launched in South Korea on February 1st 2021 but without music from artists with licensing deals under Kakao M which includes IU, Zico and more. 

Releases distributed by the Korean label have now been removed from Spotify around the world. Kakao M is one of the largest distributors in in South Korea with 37.5 percent of the songs featured on the 2020 top 400 yearly song chart from Gaon Music Chart. 

Speaking to NME, a spokesperson for Spotify confirmed that Kakao’s M’s catalogue would no longer be available to Spotify users across the globe from the Monday 1st March, 2021 “due to the expiration of our licence.”

They continued, “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.” Adding, “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 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.”

Twitter user @lemonphobic has compiled all the artists who’s music is unavailable via Spotify here: 

It’s also worth noting that Katao M’s parent company also owns and operates the MelOn streaming service, one of the top digital music platforms in South Korea.