Music Industry

Have some of your favourite albums disappeared from your streaming music service? You’re not imagining things.

A frustrating thing about Netflix is the amount of churn with their programming. A movie, documentary or a TV show lives on the service for a while and then disappears after a while. Blame it on the licensing agreements by which Netflix has to abide.

The same thing happens with streaming music services. One day, you’re putting albums and individual songs onto your playlists and tagging them as favourites. But then they suddenly disappear. You might still see the song/album on your playlist or in a search but it’s labelled as “unavailable.” This is the case for even for people who pay for, say, the premium version of Spotify. What’s going on?

It’s a case-by-case situation.

  • Jay-Z pulled all his stuff from every platform and ported everything to Tidal, of which he is a part owner.
  • Glitches/disputes over contracts or licensing deals. This happened with MIA, Aaliyah and a few others. For example, artists associated with the defunct Blackground Records (Toni Braxton, Timbaland) can’t be found on streaming services because the licensing rights to their songs are all screwed up.
  • Label issues. Radiohead hasn’t been a fan of streaming from the beginning. That’s been complicated by multiple distribution deals that resulted in a couple of deluxe editions of their albums being removed–or parts of them, at least.
  • Bands get in trouble. Take the case of PWR BTTM, a member of which was accused of sexual assault. Poison. Pulled. Dropped.
  • Kanye West was all weird about The Life of Pablo. He kept releasing it and pulling it until he could get it right.

Frustrating, yes, but it’s something we’ll have to live with until more of the legalities around streaming get sorted out. Read more here.




Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37854 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Have some of your favourite albums disappeared from your streaming music service? You’re not imagining things.

  • One of the reasons why I’m still inclined to buy a release I really like. Vinyl, CD or maybe iTunes depending on how much I like it.


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