K-Pop Groups Including Seventeen, (G)I-DLE Off Spotify Due to Licensing Issues

Kakao M group Seventeen. Photo: The Chosunilbo JNS/ImaZins via Getty Images

#SpotifyIsOverParty? The streaming service is no longer home to the catalogues of musicians distributed by South Korea’s Kakao M after a disagreement over licensing. Groups under Kakao M, including Seventeen, (G)I-DLE, Monsta X, and Mamamoo, have been unavailable on Spotify globally since March 1. When Spotify hit South Korea in February, Kakao M’s roster was never part of the service, given the company’s decadelong affiliation with the Korean streaming service Melon. In a statement, Spotify told Billboard the deal ended “despite our best efforts,” going on to call the lack of a licensing agreement with Kakao M “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,” Spotify added. In a statement to South Korean outlet MoneyToday, Kakao M said the lapse was the result of concurrent negotiations for South Korean and global contracts with Spotify. “Unrelated to the domestic contract, which we are still negotiating, we separately received notice of the expiration of our license on February 28, and we requested a renewal of our existing global contract,” the company said, according to a translation from Korean culture website Soompi. “We are currently continuing our negotiations about the supply of music,” the company added. In the meantime, at least Seventeen’s Kelly Clarkson Show performance lives on.

Update, March 10: Kakao and Spotify have reached a new licensing agreement. According to a release, the company’s music will now be on Spotify globally, including in South 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,” a Kakao spokesperson said. A Spotify spokesperson added, “We remain committed to making a positive impact on Korea’s music-streaming ecosystem through our partnerships with artists, labels, and local rights holders.”

Spotify Loses K-Pop Groups Over Licensing Issues