Imagine waking up one morning to find your playlists decreased by over 100 songs. Well, that was the case for thousands of International K-Pop fans, including myself. On March 1st, we woke up to the removal of over 100 songs by various Korean artists under the company of Kakao M – a company that runs the biggest streaming platform in Korea called Melon. Fans described this situation as the K-Pop Version of Infinity War and the memes for the pain we are going through are too good to not share.
The details are still unknown but essentially Spotify and Kakao M had a disagreement over their licensing contract expiring which resulted in the songs being removed. A lot of these artists had no say in this and were completely annoyed by the fact that their songs were removed on Spotify which caused them to have a loss in streams. A member named Tablo from a popular K-Hip Hop trio called “Epik High” took his anger to his Twitter:
A day later, they were able to restore their music on Spotify but their streams were not able to get restored, which left the trio a little heartbroken.
Did all we can to restore our music. Lost the streaming numbers & playlisting. Heartbroken but what matters is that u can hear the music again. Throw us a streaming party.— 에픽하이 타블로 | Tablo of Epik High (@blobyblo) March 1, 2021
Epik High Is Here 上 (Part 1): https://t.co/R7GuBaRc7W
sleepless in __________: https://t.co/tZVBhrP3dq
This whole situation has led International K-Pop fans to stray away from Spotify since they are paying for premium and can’t even listen to their favourite songs. Most fans who left Spotify have taken a membership with YouTube Music or Apple Music and some have even purchased physical albums for these artists.
If you are curious to know which artists were affected by this disagreement, this Twitter user has created a thread here.
Waking up to find my playlists robbed of my songs left me confused. I was also upset that the only way of supporting these artists was snatched away from me. I have been a loyal Spotify user for 5 years now and I don’t plan on switching so I hope that despite the loss and frustration the K-Pop industry is experiencing, we can still be hopeful for a re-release of these songs!
Stay safe and stay groovy!