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Every once in a while, you might find songs that were always available in your Spotify playlists to suddenly be greyed out. You’ll only see greyed out songs if you enabled the Spotify setting that lets you see unavailable songs in your playlists; otherwise, those songs will simply disappear from your playlists altogether.
To start seeing greyed out songs in Spotify, simply go to your Spotify app’s settings and toggle the button labeled Show unavailable songs in playlists:
So the question is, why do Spotify songs get greyed out? If they were available before, why aren’t they available now? And if they’re unavailable, does that mean you can’t play them anymore? Or is there a way around the restriction?
Keep reading to find out what you can do about it!
Why Spotify Songs Are Greyed Out
Spotify has never explicitly listed all of the reasons why a song might become unavailable, but using a bit of critical thinking and piecing together other things Spotify has said, we can deduce that songs become greyed out for one of these reasons:
- Country restrictions: Some songs just aren’t available in certain regions of the world. That availability is decided by whoever owns the copyright to the song (usually the label that produced the album), and this availability can change over time.
- License expirations: Spotify has to strike licensing agreements with music labels and other copyright holders in order to stream their songs on the Spotify platform. These licensing agreements have finite expiration dates—and if those licensing agreements aren’t renewed, the songs can no longer be streamed.
- Network issues: Rarely, a network connection issue can cause songs to be greyed out. The issue could be on your side, or it could be on Spotify’s side.
In the case of #3, the problem will clear itself up when the network issue is addressed. There’s nothing anyone can do about #2, as the only solution is for Spotify to somehow strike another licensing agreement to get those songs back on. As for #1, there is something you can do! More on that in a bit.
But first, how can you tell if the greyed out song is due to #1 or #2? You have to check the regional availability for the song.
How to Check Countries for Spotify Songs
There’s a free web app that you can use to check the country availability for an album on Spotify. All you have to do is:
- Click this link for the web app.
- Click the Get Spotify token button.
- Log into your Spotify account.
- Click the Agree button to grant permission to the web app.
Once permission is granted, you can enter the Spotify URI for any album to check its country availability. To get the Spotify URI:
- Navigate to the album in Spotify.
- Under the three-dots menu, click Share > Copy Spotify URI.
- Paste that into the field in the web app.
For example, the Spotify URI for Ted Cazey’s “Rewind” album is
spotify:album:5apTzWosnZroPRPo33IWdA. Entering that into the web app shows that this album isn’t available anywhere, which is a good sign that its licensing agreement expired:
How to Play Spotify Songs in Other Countries
If the greyed out Spotify song is available in a country but you’re located in a region where that Spotify song isn’t available, then you can use a VPN to trick Spotify into thinking you’re in a different country.
A VPN (virtual private network) is an app that creates an encrypted connection between you and a VPN provider. When you connect to a VPN server, your internet traffic gets redirected through that server—and gives the illusion that the server’s location is your location. So if you’re in Greenland but you connect to a VPN server in the US, Spotify will think you’re in the US!
We prefer ExpressVPN, one of the most reputable VPN providers. They have servers in 90+ countries, so you’ll be able to access Spotify worldwide. ExpressVPN also works for other streaming services that region-block content, like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.
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