These days, music streaming apps come down to just a few, and Spotify is definitely on the top of the list. Whether it's music or podcasts, you can't go wrong with Spotify.
Although it has a long history, Spotify has only been introduced in Korea as recently as last month (1st of February 2021), which is quite a shock for some global listeners. With that, Koreans can now access over 60 million tracks and over 4 billion playlists from around the world while receiving recommendations for music they might like. Not only that, Spotify has also released some specially curated playlists exclusive for Korean listeners. Spotify now boasts the largest music catalog in the country.
Korean songs are not just limited to the popular K-pop, but also covers folk songs, rock, hip-hop, indie music and orchestras. After all, South Korea isn't the sixth largest music market in the world for nothing. In line with promoting the works of Korean artists to the world, Spotify will have artist-specific playlists such as "This is BTS", "This is BLACKPINK", and "This is SUPERJUNIOR" to help users find their favorite tunes.
However, less than 1 month after the introduction of Spotify to South Korea, a "tragedy" for music lovers happened. On the last day of February, netizens were surprised to find that a huge collection of K-pop songs have been removed from the platform, causing panic among K-pop fans around the world.
According to reports, which Spotify later confirmed, all songs under distributor KakaoM has been removed from global platforms. This is due to a disagreement in their global licensing agreement, which they have spent the last year and a half to renew to no avail. Also, keep in mind that KakaoM is the parent company of Melon, another top music streaming service in Korea which Spotify is competing with.
It's not only the fans that are left confused. Artists were also heavily affected, some of them include IU, MONSTA X, SEVENTEEN, MAMAMOO, GFRIEND, (G)I-DLE, and more. Attempts to play songs from these artists will only be met with a "This song is not available" message.
Spotify hopes that this disruption is only temporary, as we all do. Spotify claims that they will continue to work with KakaoM to help grow the Korean music industry and the music streaming ecosystem together. It's a sad day for K-pop fans all over the globe, but it seems like we can only wait and hope for the best right now.