According to a report by Billboard, Spotify has pulled Zee Music’s entire roster after talks to extend their licensing arrangement failed. As a result, the platform no longer has several really popular tracks. For instance, the song “Apna Bana Le” from the movie Bhediya (2022), which had been the top song on Spotify in India for the previous two weeks, has been taken off.
Zee Music, a subsidiary of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, is one of the leading record labels in the Indian subcontinent and has ties with major players in the Bollywood music industry. March 14 marked the last date when songs from Zee Music could be streamed on the popular global indie music platform. Speaking to Billboard, an official statement issued by Spotify read, “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.”
As a result of the licensing dispute, several popular tracks that were ranking at the very top of Spotify playlists have been removed. Zee Music was the top-ranking label for Sptify’s Daily Top 200 chart for India. Songs that have been taken down include hits such as “Maiyya Mainu” from Jersey (2022), the title tracks from Kalank (2019) and Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (2019), “Makhna” from Drive (2019), “Namo Namo” from Kedarnath (2018) and “Zaalima” from Raees (2017).
Bollywood fans react to the Spotify situation on social media
In addition, the sister company Zee Studios’ roster was also affected. Soundtracks from blockbuster movies such as Veere Di Wedding (2018) and the revolutionary hip-hop movie Gully Boy (2019) are now unavailable on Spotify. With a subscriber count of 93.6 million on YouTube, Zee Music is only second to T-series (239 million) in the race to become the most-subscribed-to Indian music channel. Losing out on streaming their songs on one of India’s leading streaming services, Spotify, would make things a lot more difficult for Zee Music to maintain its position in the market.
Bollywood is synonymous with music in India. The unfortunate news has given birth to a storm on social media with frantic fans expressing their sorrow. “Half of my Hindi albums are gone.” wrote one user. While another said, “Whatever drama zee and Spotify are having… I don’t want to be involved..please just put all my music back.” In response to the news, certain users have also chosen to opt out of subscription-based services provided by Spotify.
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