Following the removal of all Kakao M-distributed songs from Spotify worldwide, P NATION has now re-uploaded songs from artists like Jessi and HyunA to the platform. However, all their original stream counts are now missing.
Beginning March 1, K-Pop fans across the world were shocked to learn that all songs distributed by Kakao M since 2019 have been removed from Spotify worldwide. The list of affected artists is vast, including MAMAMOO, SEVENTEEN, LOONA, (G)I-DLE, and more.
Several hours later, Spotify explained that their global licensing deal with Kakao M had indeed expired, and assured fans that they “hope [the] disruption will be temporary.” Later, Kakao M issued a statement explaining that Spotify is currently not allowing the company to renew its global license without signing a Korean contract. As the company in charge of Spotify’s direct competitor, Melon, it appears Kakao M is not willing to allow its songs to become part of Spotify Korea’s library.
Now, it seems that P NATION is the first K-Pop agency to tackle to problem head-on. Founded by world-famous “Gangnam Style” singer PSY, P NATION is home to Jessi, HyunA, DAWN, Crush, Heize, and D.Ark.
As of 2:00 p.m. KST on March 1, P NATION has reuploaded its artists’ recent songs to Spotify under its own distribution copyright. This includes recent albums by Jessi and HyunA but does not include older releases that P NATION doesn’t own the rights to. The copyright for the original uploads still states “P NATION, under license to Kakao M Corp.“, while the new uploads are listed under P NATION only.
However, there is one problem: the songs are missing their former stream count. Last week, HyunA’s recent release “I’m Not Cool” surpassed 10 million streams on Spotify. Likewise, in January, Jessi’s “NUNU NANA” surpassed 30 million plays on the platform.
Now, all the songs that were previously distributed under Kakao M have been returned to a stream count of zero. According to a Spotify Community post, this is standard practice when artists change distributors. If the songs are not linked to their new distributor before they’re deleted, all recorded streams are lost.
It is recommended to not take down the old releases from the old distributor until the release from the new distributor are live and has linked to the old releases.
Your followers and related artists will remain in place.
To keep your stats, you will want the new releases to link to the old releases before removing the old releases.
— Matt Suda, Spotify’s Community Rock Star Program
It is currently unclear whether Spotify will be willing to make an exception and reinstate the songs’ original streams. It also remains to be seen whether other K-Pop agencies will take the same path—or if they’re able to at all. Some fans have speculated that P NATION may only have the right to reupload its songs to Spotify because the company also distributes through iriver.