Apple Music: Why are songs and albums suddenly no longer available?

It can happen from time to time that individual songs or even entire albums and playlists are grayed out in the Apple Music app because the content can no longer be played via the Apple Music subscription. But why are they no longer available? Why can you no longer stream or download certain content from Apple Music from one day to the next? In this article I have summarized the various possible reasons and a few possible solutions.

From one day to the next, 10 out of 11 songs in this album were grayed out. Of course you can't listen to it in its entirety.
From one day to the next, 10 out of 11 songs in this album were grayed out. Of course you can't listen to it in its entirety.

Expiring licenses that will not be renewed

The most likely reason why individual songs, certain albums or even entire discographies of bands disappear from Apple's Music subscription is expiring licenses. If the studio that holds the rights to the music no longer allows Apple to offer it via its own streaming service, then you will no longer be able to play it as a subscriber. Even if they are still listed and in your own media library. Studios sometimes withhold the license for their music catalog, individual artists or albums to put pressure on Apple. For example, to get better compensation.

The publishers do not hold any rights to the works

It is somewhat rarer, but not impossible, for music or music videos to be made available by people or companies via Apple Music and thus via the Music app, even though they do not hold any rights to it. If there are copyright problems, the actual rights holders can contact Apple and request that the unlawfully posted material be removed. Apple offers an online option for this purpose Contact form  

The licenses for individual countries/regions have expired

Copyright is a complicated topic, especially because it is handled differently in different countries. It may therefore happen that certain titles, albums or even music videos can be streamed without restrictions in some countries, while in other countries they are sometimes available and then not again. Or even disappear completely from Apple Music’s subscription offering. Apple offers a support page on the topic (118205) titled “Availability of Apple Media Services.”

Rights to samples are asserted

Sometimes it's not the studios or artists behind the published works themselves who are causing the removal. If you use certain samples, loops, quotes or excerpts from other pieces of music, films, series or similar media, their rights holders can request their removal. Even very short excerpts from other works that are used to enhance your own work must be legally clarified. For commercial use, you must obtain permission or purchase usage rights.

Content reported as explicit or offensive may be removed

Apple does offer the option of setting up parental controls for Apple Music and the Music app (Instructions), but this doesn't seem to offer 100 percent protection against adult content. Even labeling it as explicit (e.g. with an “E” or “Explicit” next to the song title) sometimes doesn’t seem to be enough. If songs or albums are then reported as inappropriate, Apple can remove them from the offer. In particular, reports from children's accounts and from certain countries or confederations with strict youth protection laws are said to have an influence here.

Different solutions to the problem

  • With a VPN (SurfShark, NordVPN, Atlas VPN, etc.) take advantage of the availability of the music in other countries.
  • Check another streaming service (Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Music, etc.) to see if the music is available there.
  • With an ad blocker (e.g. AdBlock Pro for Safari) Go to YouTube and listen to the music there.
  • Buy the music as MP3 files or rip it from a CD and add it to the local media library.
  • Have the CD at hand and use the CD compartment on the radio again.
I found my solution.
I found my solution.

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3 comments on “Apple Music: Why are songs and albums suddenly no longer available?”

  1. My first MP3 player from Cowon was actually quite good. Then came the iPhones and, after initially good ones, I had my first negative experiences with Music Match. I still have a CD collection that I had bought together over the years as a replacement for MC and LP. With this I laboriously built up my music database. But it was constantly being torn apart by the synchronizations. After a few years of trouble, I ended up subscribing to Apple Music. At the beginning everything was ok, my collection was integrated until I kept replacing my own files with Apple m4p. For about a year now I've noticed that titles were suddenly missing after using the Synchro cloud media library. Among other things, many titles by John Miles and some by Jeff Beck, Alvin Lee, etc. They are displayed in the filer but it is impossible to play them, even with backup versions. I find it very frustrating, especially if you are honest and pay CHF 13.90 every month. Here too, the Swiss are withdrawn again as usual. What are your experiences and what alternatives would there be?

    1. Hi Ricci! After I subscribed to Apple Music, I stopped maintaining my iTunes library. But I admire people who continue to do it with dedication. 😊 Apple probably no longer takes care of local music and its synchronization.

  2. Sure, if it's an absolute favorite album, you can buy the CD (if available), but if a dozen or more songs are missing from an extensive playlist, it makes no sense to buy them individually and is also damn annoying - after all, you pay already for a service.

    In any case, I cannot recommend ripping CDs and adding them to the media library for audiophiles. That was my thought too, until my WAV files in the Apple Music library were compressed: to 256 Kbit/s. Lossless is apparently only available in the Apple Music catalog, not for its own content.

    And worse still: If you have bought music from Apple iTunes, it is not lossless, but is still in AAC format with 256 Kbit/s.

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