Why have hundreds of Bollywood songs disappeared from Spotify?

Streaming platform unable to reach licensing agreement with one of India's largest record labels

Spotify says it will continue negotiations in 'good faith'. AFP
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Hundreds of Bollywood songs have been removed from Spotify after it failed to reach a licensing agreement with an Indian record label.

The catalogue of tracks from Zee Music Company, one of the largest record labels in the country, includes hits such as Apna Bana Le from the film Bhediya (2022) — the No 1 track on Spotify in India in the past two weeks.

It has disappeared along with other top streamed songs on the platform: Maiyya Mainu from Jersey (2022), Makhna from Drive (2019), Namo Namo from Kedarnath (2018) and Zaalima from Raees (2017).

"Spotify and Zee Music have been unable to reach a licensing agreement," Spotify told Billboard.

"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."

Spotify users have expressed their disappointment on social media.

"Does Spotify have beef with Bollywood? Cuz they be removing every good song. At this point I'm gonna remove Spotify," one subscriber posted on Twitter.

"They removed Bollywood songs from Spotify it’s sad," another user said.

"I'm so upset, this is insane," one Bollywood music fan told the BBC, while another said she'd cancelled her Spotify subscription in protest.

Zee Music Company, which has more than 93 million subscribers on YouTube, is part of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, a media conglomerate with interests in television, print, websites and film production and distribution.

At the end of last year, Spotify said it had more than 205 million premium subscribers. It is widely considered to be the largest music streaming service in the world, although numbers from rivals Apple Music and Amazon Music are not readily available.

Updated: March 21, 2023, 7:54 AM