Spotify Restrictions Vary by Country - dummies

Spotify Restrictions Vary by Country

By Kim Gilmour

Some bands’ albums are available in certain Spotify countries and not in others. The complex agreements Spotify has with record labels restrict play of some songs in selected countries. Spotify says the restrictions hark back to the days of cassettes and CDs (what are those again?).

Popular electropop band La Roux’s debut album isn’t available to play in full if your account is U.K.-registered (ironically, the band is British), but the eponymous album is accessible for subscribers in other Spotify countries, such as France.


Here is the warning message that shows up when you try to play it in a U.K. account: This Album Is Not Available in the United Kingdom. Only three tracks are available for you to listen to (the rest of the track listings are in gray), and even these tracks aren’t officially on the album — they’re linked to single releases (that are available in the U.K., as shown by the chain-link icon).

This restriction is a shame because, prior to the rules being imposed, the album was fully available on Spotify UK. La Roux was even featured in an exclusive live-session recording (still accessible on the site).

The same goes for Icelandic singer Björk. You can find most of her stuff on Spotify, but her 2004 album Medulla is unavailable on Spotify UK. There are two tracks available, but these tracks have a chain-link icon next to them, indicating they aren’t the original versions from the album (you can find the source of a substituted track by clicking the chain-link icon).

Both the La Roux and Björk albums don’t even show up on a search if you’re logged into a U.K.-registered account.

Thankfully, reports about music being pulled by record labels after that music has been hanging out on Spotify for a while are few and far between these days.

While you wait for artists to get with the 21st century and make their way to Spotify, you can find plenty of cover bands promoting their own versions through the site, which is probably a lucrative little side business. They cheekily label their tracks In the Style Of or a Tribute.

To find these acts, either look for the band name or the name of a track you want to hear, and then marvel at the interesting search results.