Artists and Albums Not Available on Spotify - dummies

Artists and Albums Not Available on Spotify

By Kim Gilmour

Despite its sheer amount of music, some very high-profile artists and albums still aren’t on Spotify. Either they’ve chosen not to be included or the record labels have, for whatever reason, opted not to include their entire body of work in Spotify’s streaming library. Here’s a (by no means comprehensive) rundown of some popular artists and what you won’t find from them on Spotify:

  • AC/DC: The Aussie rockers are noticeably missing from the site — all that’s in their place is a raft of tribute albums and bands (Spotify says they’ve opted out of being included in the catalogue). Is this enough to satisfy your rock cravings?

  • The Beatles: Digital tracks from the Fab Four are, after many years, now available to purchase from iTunes (the story of the dispute between the Beatles’ Apple Corps record label and Steve Jobs’s Apple Computer is well documented). But the Beatles haven’t inked a digital deal with anyone else, to date. Streaming the Beatles’ music, as well as purchasing downloads, are impossible through the Spotify store.

    Still, the iTunes deal was finalized only in November 2010, so who knows? You can also find music from individual band members in the catalogue — releases from John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr have a substantial presence.

  • Led Zeppelin: Unfortunately, you can’t find any Led Zep songs in the catalogue because they’ve chosen not to release them on Spotify. (And it wasn’t until 2007 that their songs were made available on Apple iTunes.) Search for Led Zeppelin on Spotify, and you find only tribute bands and covers of their influential music.

    On the plus side, you can find latter-day releases from Robert Plant on Spotify; in 2010, Premium users in selected countries were treated to a six-track EP exclusive from his album Band of Joy.

  • Metallica: Originally a legally dubious, free digital music-swapping service, Napster changed the music industry forever. (Early employee Sean Parker, immortalized in the Hollywood flick The Social Network, is now one of Spotify’s stakeholders.) When Metallica discovered that an unreleased track had leaked onto Napster before it was available in the shops — as well as all their other work being made available — they promptly launched legal action.

    Cue much backlash from the band’s fans. An agreement was settled in July 2001 when Napster, being sued from all sides, was forced to close and become reborn as a subscription-based service. In 2006, Metallica agreed to start selling tracks on Apple iTunes. Drummer Lars Ulrich may be able to laugh about the Napster incident now, but the band hasn’t taken the Spotify plunge — yet.

  • Pink Floyd: The pickings are slimmer than slim here. None of the iconic band’s albums are available on Spotify. The former band members had a long-running legal dispute with EMI over the presence of tracks on Apple iTunes. The spat was finally settled in 2011 in a five-year deal, which will see EMI continue to market and distribute Pink Floyd’s music through iTunes.

    They’ve made no official comment as to why they aren’t on Spotify, but after all the drama, don’t expect Roger Waters and company to be rushing into distributing their music in streaming form on Spotify just yet — but their fans are patiently waiting.

  • Radiohead: All of Radiohead’s EMI label releases are available on Spotify, including the 2008 Best Of album. But the influential group didn’t renew its contract with EMI when it expired in 2007. It has chosen not to issue its two latest albums, In Rainbows and The King of Limbs, on Spotify’s streaming catalogue (you can buy them from other digital stores, though).

    Despite this partial absence, band members are known to use Spotify and have issued their own Spotify playlists via their website. Individual efforts from band members, including Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Philip Selway, are also available. (And listening to their back catalogue still earns them royalties!)