Why Does Spotify Have Songs You CAN’T Play? (Solved)

For most people, Spotify is the go-to platform for listening to music, and with its enormous selection of albums and artists, it’s no surprise.

However, some users have noticed that not all songs are playable, and in this article, you can find out why some songs cannot be played.

Everything You Need To Know About Unplayable Songs On Spotify

Sometimes Spotify users may encounter certain songs that cannot play on the platform. This can be because of:

  • Copyright infringement and other artist-related issues.
  • Locational restrictions via geo-blocking.
  • Problems with network and internet connection.

Person holding a brand new Apple iPhone XS with Spotify logo on the screen. Spotify is a popular commercial music streaming service.

What Are Unplayable Songs On Spotify?

There’s nothing more frustrating than having the inspiration to play a favorite hit for your friends at a party using Spotify, only to be confronted with the fact that it’s not actually possible for you to play it.

For those lucky ones who have never encountered this, you may not understand what an unplayable song is.

Unplayable songs can be identified through the Spotify app in a few ways; they are songs on Spotify that:

  • Were once in your library but are now greyed out.
  • They no longer appear when you search for them.
  • Are simply skipped over by Spotify when encountered in your library.

Additionally, if you have “pre-saved” an artist’s new album ahead of  the album’s release, you will not be able to play the music until the actual release date. For more on this, check out our article about Spotify and Album Releases.

Why Are Some Songs Greyed Out On Spotify?

If you have ever been obsessed with a track, happily listening to it over and over, then the next day you wake up to find it has disappeared from your playlist, then undoubtedly you will be left wondering how this can possibly happen.

As upsetting as it can be, a greyed-out song simply means that Spotify cannot connect to the location of the song.

Here are the most common reasons why a song may become greyed out, or unplayable, on Spotify:

Contract Renegotiation With An Artist

Spotify does not own any of the music in its library; it is purely a site for members to stream music.

This means that they pay the artists a certain amount of money depending on how popular their songs are on the platform.

If a song is played millions of times, Spotify will pay out much more to that artist than an artist whose songs are only played a handful of times.

However, Spotify is quite well-known for being unclear with its pay towards artists, and for this reason, some artists may decide to renegotiate a better contract with them.

Whilst this is happening, the artist’s music may be removed and become unplayable on Spotify’s platform.

Country Specific Restrictions

Certain countries have different music streaming platforms besides Spotify which may be much more popular with the public.

Artists may therefore decide to only stream their music through the most popular streaming platform of a country, instead of using Spotify, to gain the most publicity.

This means that you may not be able to listen to a particular artist on Spotify in certain countries as they are only streaming through another service in that location.

An Issue With The Copyright

Unfortunately, in an era full to the brim with multiple remixes and covers of songs, failure to credit artists can often occur.

Whether it is done by accident, or on purpose, copyright is a serious issue faced by artists using such a huge streaming platform as Spotify.

Spotify works alongside legal teams to ensure that songs are original or licensed copies so that every artist is compensated properly.

When a song becomes greyed out, it may have been taken down due to copyright infringement.

Is There A Way To Make These Songs Start Playing?

If a song has been removed due to copyright issues or contract negotiations, then there is no way for us as individuals to get the song playing again.

However, sometimes when a song is greyed out on Spotify it can be due to a problem that is specific to the device or internet connection of an individual user.

If you believe this is the case, then read on below to find the best solutions to get your songs playing again.

  1. Check your internet connection is stable – if you aren’t connected to WiFi, certain songs may become unplayable.
  2. Use a VPN – this can be useful to bypass any locational restrictions.
  3. Download songs for offline listening so you don’t have to rely on the internet.
  4. Log in and out again – there may be a glitch occurring with the app.
  5. Clear cache – a full cache can cause problems for the playback.
  6. Reinstall Spotify – if nothing else works, there may be a problem with the app itself. The best thing to do is delete Spotify and install it again.

Can You Hide Unplayable Songs On Spotify?

Hiding unplayable songs on Spotify is simple and easy. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Open the Spotify app on either your desktop or mobile phone.
  2. Navigate to the ‘Settings’ menu.
  3. Next, tap or click on ‘Playback’.
  4. Scroll down and you will see the option ‘Hide Unplayable Songs’.
  5. To hide unplayable songs, ensure this is toggled ON.

Check out our article with simple fixes when the unhide option fails to work properly on Spotify.

Is There A Way To Show Unplayable Songs On Spotify?

If you need to find a way to show unplayable songs on Spotify then don’t worry, all you have to do is navigate to:

  • Settings>Playback>Hide Unplayable songs, then toggle the option OFF.

Now when you go to open your library, the song’s title and artist will be visible but greyed out.

Does Spotify Disable Songs With Bad Language?

Spotify provides a streaming service that is inclusive to all artists, regardless of whether their songs contain profanities or lewd language.

There are listeners who find songs with bad language enjoyable, but others may find this type of content distressing.

That is why Spotify labels songs with bad language or sexual content ‘Explicit’ so members can easily identify and navigate past them if they desire.

The tag appears directly underneath the song name, identified by an ‘E’.

  • Spotify users also have the option to toggle ‘Allow explicit content on or off to suit their needs.
  • This can be found by going to Settings> Explicit Content> Allow explicit content ON/OFF.

Does Spotify Use Geoblocking On Artist & Song Level?

Streaming platforms, including Spotify, use geo-blocking to stop certain users in restricted locations from accessing their platforms.

Other platforms known for using geo-blocking are:

  • Amazon Prime
  • YouTube
  • Netflix

As you can see, it is quite a common practice, and Spotify isn’t the only one. Thankfully, users can download a VPN in order to access these platforms even if they are in a location whose content is limited.

How Does Parental Control Work On Spotify?

Spotify is designed to be appropriate for those aged 13+.

In order for a child to be protected from unsafe content, it is imperative they sign up using their correct date of birth so that Spotify can apply the appropriate safeguards.

To access greater parental controls, you must be signed up for a premium family plan.

With Spotify premium family, members can select a particular user in the ‘Manage your Family Plan’, and then restrict the available content.

If you feel like your child is too young to be using Spotify, you can have a look at Spotify Kids which is a service that Spotify states:

“allows your child to enjoy human-curated, kid-friendly content in the form of music, audiobooks, and more, and to soundtrack their day, from playtime to bedtime.”

This unique service is tailored to kids that are below the age of 12 and is exclusively available to those with a Spotify premium family membership.


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