Spotify streams more than 30 million songs and has more than two billion playlists, which is why it’s sometimes hard to keep track of songs that come and go. If you’ve ever noticed that one of your favourite songs has stopped playing, don’t blame the algorithm right away; it might just mean that the song was removed from the streaming service.
Sometimes artists will pull their music from Spotify, which automatically leads to the streaming service hiding the songs from the entire catalogue — without notifying users. But fret not: There’s a setting that lets you see what songs have disappeared from your playlists. This is very useful if you want to permanently buy the songs on iTunes and still play them on Spotify as local files.
Go to Settings, and under Display Options, enable Show unavailable songs in playlists (this is both on mobile and desktop). Once that toggle button is green, all songs that have been removed by Spotify will be visible in your playlists. The song titles will appear in grey, but you won’t be able to play them.
Spotify doesn’t provide any details on when the songs were removed, why they were pulled, or when they will return. Sometimes Spotify will remove and hide songs that were released as singles and rereleased with an album (for example, Britney Spears’ Work Work). So make sure to revisit the artist’s page and add that specific song back into your playlists.
Some artists we know have pulled their songs from Spotify due to the streaming wars (Apple vs Spotify vs Tidal). However, some K-pop bands and indie artists have also disappeared from Spotify. Other big artists whose music has been pulled include Rihanna’s old songs, some songs by The Killers and Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Lana Del Ray pre-2012. Taylor Swift had left, but she’s now back with her entire collection. We’re still waiting for Beyoncé’s Lemonade.