Streaming services are a wonder for music discovery and convenience. If you aren’t super-picky about your music collection, Spotify, Apple Music and others put millions of songs right at your fingertips. They don’t do such a good job of putting money in the pockets of the artists and bands that wrote and recorded the music, but that’s another discussion.
But if you are super-picky about your music collection, streaming services are a good supplement but not a replacement for maintaining your own collection. This page is a running tally of albums you won’t be able to find on streaming. This often seems to be because the rights to the albums are in question or the label and artist can’t agree on terms, or the band/albums/labels are too niche to have gotten the streaming giants’ attention. (Or the label has said “eff that, no way.”)
Some of this can be found on YouTube, but typically uploaded by folks who don’t actually have the rights to the music. Here today, but no guarantees about tomorrow.
Of course this is not a comprehensive list: Just music that I’ve noticed is missing. In some cases it’s full albums, in some cases it’s just a track here and there. I’ve noticed that Spotify has disappeared tracks from my playlists but the song may still be available in other forms / on other albums. It’s happened less in the past year, but still happens to my playlists and those shared by others. (e.g., today I notice that the Late Night Tales playlist is missing “The Word/Sardines” by Junkyard Band, added 20 days ago.)
I’ll be keeping this page updated as I notice more missing music.
Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
The Heroes did one album plus a few singles/EPs and worked on a project backing William Burroughs. Most of that never made it to streaming. Their primary effort made it, but with some casualties.
Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury (1992)
You can find Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury on Spotify, but it’s missing four tracks as of this writing (and for a few years now): “The Winter of the Long Hot Summer,” “Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury,” “California Uber Alles,” and “Water Pistol Man.”
You can find the Heroes cover of “California Uber Alles” on Spotify, on the Virus 100 compilation from Alternative Tentacles. “Water Pistol Man – Chocolate Mix” is on Michael Franti & Spearhead’s 1997 Chocolate Supa Highway, but the Heroes’ version is entirely unavailable. The other two tracks are entirely unavailable and no clue why that would be.
You can find a lot of Robyn’s music on Spotify, solo, with The Soft Boys, with The Egyptians and with the Venus 3, and others. But you’ll also notice some glaring gaps in his discography if you go looking to streaming to find Robyn’s music.
- Gotta Let This Hen Out (live) (1985)
- Invisible Hitchcock (1986)
- Globe of Frogs (1988)
- Queen Elvis (1989)
- Perspex Island (1991)
- Planet England (w/Andy Partridge) (2019)
The Rollins Band’s output is not well-represented on Spotify at all. Only two albums appear on Spotify, End of Silence (1992) and Get Some Go Again (2000). Among the missing:
- Life Time (1987)
- Hard Volume (1989)
- Weight (1994)
- Come In and Burn (1997)
- Nice (2001)
This is just their missing “official” studio output and none of the live albums or outtakes/demo collections like Weighting (2004) or Come In and Burn Sessions (2004) that were released in the early 2000s after Rollins stepped away from music.
Steven “Jesse” Bernstein
Steven “Jesse” Bernstein made a number of recordings, but until recently only one “official” posthumous release from Sub Pop records.
Prison (1992) was produced by Steve Fisk and finished after Bernstein’s death in 1991. A (more) limited edition album came out in 2016, I Am Secretly An Important Man was put out on vinyl, only 1,000 copies along with a DVD and poster for the documentary about Bernstein’s life.
Sadly (if not surprisingly), Prison and I Am Secretly An Important Man are nowhere to be found on streaming services.