Spotify removes Bollywood songs after renewal of licensing agreement fails

Mar 21, 2023 07:42 PM IST

Spotify was forced to remove Zee Music’s entire catalog after the renewal of their licensing agreement failed last week. Users have been furious by the move.

The music app Spotify was forced to remove the entire catalog of Bollywood songs from Zee Music Company after negotiations for a renewal of their licensing agreement failed to go through last week. Users and fans of Bollywood music have been taking to social media to voice their displeasure over the move. Some have even threatened to cancel their subscription with the app. (Also read: Spotify’s India focus: ‘Indian artists on platform increased by 13 times’)

The soundtrack of Gully Boy was one of many that was taken down from Spotify after the licensing agreement failed with Zee Music.
The soundtrack of Gully Boy was one of many that was taken down from Spotify after the licensing agreement failed with Zee Music.

Zee Music also did not renew the licensing agreement with the music app Gaana and cut ties with them in 2022. A few months later, Gaana became a subscription-only service.

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According to a report on Billboard, the music app said in a statement, "Spotify and Zee Music have been unable to reach a licensing agreement. Throughout these negotiations, Spotify has tried to find creative ways to strike a deal with Zee Music and will continue our good faith negotiations in hopes of finding a mutually agreeable solution soon.”

The music app has a disclaimer on its website that it doesn't provide access to all the music and podcasts in the world. Like the streaming platform Netflix, it negotiates licensing deals with publishers and rights owners so their music tracks can be played online.

Fans complained about the move on Twitter. One user wrote, "is spotify beefing with bollywood why are they taking off almost all the songs what do they have against daaru desi and kala chashma." Another user vented, "Nagada Sang Dhol and a whole litany of Bollywood songs were removed from Spotify and my week is ruined." While another user told other music listeners, "Another reminder that while streaming can be great and has an important role, it should NEVER be regarded as a replacement for a physical collection #Spotify #Bollywood." "spotify removing all my bollywood bangers is a crime," added yet another Twitter user.

Songs like Maiyya Mainu from Jersey (2022), Makhna from Drive (2019) and Zaalima from Raees (2017) have all been removed. Soundtracks of the rom-com Veere Di Wedding (2018), the award-winning Gully Boy (2019) and the period drama Kalank (2019) have also been taken down.

Zee Music has 93.6 million subscribers on YouTube. It comes in second to T-Series, which has 239 million subscribers on YouTube.

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