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Kakao M and Spotify Settle Dispute, Music To Return To The Swedish Platform Soon

The news comes 10 days after Kakao Entertainment Corp. (previously Kakao M) pulled its music off Spotify over a licensing disagreement

Divyansha Dongre Mar 11, 2021

Several Korean artists like hip-hop legends Epik High saw their music removed from Spotify due to the dispute.

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Following the unforeseen events of March 1st, Kakao Entertainment and Spotify have released statements acknowledging the now settled agreement over a global licensing issue which saw hundreds of songs from Korean artists disappear from the Swedish streaming platform. The songs will soon be available again to Spotify’s active users in 170 countries, including for the very first time in South Korea–a market that is currently dominated by Kakao Entertainment’s own streaming platform, Melon. 

In the statement released by Spotify, the streaming giant conveyed its commitment to making music accessible to listeners around the globe, “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. 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 four 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 Entertainment confirmed the licensing renewal, stating: “Kakao Entertainment Corp. 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.”

The contract renewal comes right in time for comebacks from artists like Jessi, IU, Pentagon, DPR IAN and more who experienced the bitter consequences of the dispute. Now with the global license in place, Korean artists can resume benefiting from Spotify’s influence in foreign markets.

While there is no official statement addressing whether the songs will reflect the streaming numbers before the March 1st incident– and if artists will be compensated for the loss in streaming numbers and potential listeners over the past 10 days– fans will soon be able to access songs from artist such as Seventeen, MAMAMOO, Epik High, Suran and more. 

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