Can we talk about developers/publishers removing songs from games?

Mave

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In particular: Rockstar Games.

I only yesterday discovered that 54 songs were removed from GTA IV.
https://www.polygon.com/2018/4/27/17292836/gta-4-soundtrack-removed-song-list-patch

All songs removed from GTA IV:

Vladivostok FM
  • Kino - “Группа крови” [Gruppa Krovi / Blood Type]
  • Marakesh - “Ждать” [Zhdat / To Wait]
  • Zveri - “Квартира” [Kvartira / The Flat]
  • Seryoga - “King Ring”
  • Splean - “Линия жизни” [Liniya Zhizni / Lifeline]
  • Basta - “Мама” [Mama / Mother]
  • Leningrad - “Никого не жалко” [Nikogo ne Zhalko / A Pity for No One]
  • Ranetki Girls - “О тебе” [O Tebe / About You]
  • Dolphin - “РЭП” [Rap]
  • Glukoza - “Швайне” [Schweine / Pigs]
  • Ruslana - “Wild Dances” Ukranian FM Version
  • Oleg Kvasha - “Зеленоглазое такси” Club Remix [Zelenoglazoe * Taksi / Green Eyed Taxi]
  • Sucker DJs - “Salvation” (TBOGT)
  • Jonathan Peters feat. Maya Azucena - “Music” (TBOGT)
  • David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland - “When Love Takes Over” (TBOGT)

Liberty Rock Radio
  • The Smashing Pumpkins - “1979”
  • Stevie Nicks - “Edge of Seventeen”
  • Electric Light Orchestra - “Evil Woman”
  • David Bowie - “Fascination”
  • Black Sabbath - “Heaven And Hell”
  • AC/DC - “Touch Too Much” (TLAD)
  • The Doors - “Five To One” (TLAD)
  • Jefferson Starship - “Jane” (TLAD)
  • Iron Maiden - “Run To The Hills” (TLAD)

The Journey
  • Terry Riley - “A Rainbow in Curved Air”
  • Michael Shrieve - “Communique: ‘Approach Spiral’”
  • San Juan Sounds
  • Angel y Khriz - “Ven Báilalo”
  • IF99 - “International Funk”
  • Gil Scott-Heron - “Home Is Where the Hatred Is”

Liberty City Hardcore
  • Cro-Mags - “It’s the Limit”
  • Leeway - “Enforcer”
  • Bathory - ”Call from the Grave” (TLAD)

K109 The Studio
  • Tamiko Jones - “Can’t Live Without Your Love”
  • Rose Royce - “Still In Love” (TBOGT)

The Vibe 98.8
  • Mtume - “C.O.D. (I’ll Deliver)”

Radio Broker
  • Ralph Myerz - “The Teacher”

The Beat 102.7
  • Fat Joe (feat. Lil Wayne) - “Crackhouse”
  • Papoose - “Stylin’”

The Classics
  • Brand Nubian - “All for One”
  • Marley Marl (feat. Craig G) - “Droppin’ Science”

Vice City FM
  • Robbie Nevil - “C’est la Vie”
  • Mai Tai - “History”
  • Womack & Womack - “Teardrops”
  • Scritti Politti - “Wood Beez (Pray like Aretha Franklin)”
  • John Farnham - “You’re the Voice”

Video Editor
  • Boy 8-Bit - “A City Under Siege”
  • Crookers (feat. Nic Sarno) - “Boxer”
  • SonicC - “Stickin”
  • Hook N Sling - “The Best Thing”
  • Marly - “You Never Know”
Sadly songs were also removed from GTA: San Andreas in 2014.
17 songs were removed back then.
https://www.pcgamer.com/grand-theft-auto-san-andreas-steam-update-removes-songs-resolution-options/

All songs removed from GTA: San Andreas:

Playback FM

  • Ultramagnetic MC’s - Critical Beatdown

Radio Los Santos

  • 2 Pac - I Don’t Give A f*ck
  • Compton’s Most Wanted - Hood Took Me Under
  • NWA - Express Yourself

Bounce FM

  • Fatback - Yum Yum
  • Roy Ayers - Running Away
  • The Gap Band - You Dropped A Bomb On Me

KDST

  • Tom Petty - Running Down A Dream
  • Joe Cocker - Woman to Woman

K-JAH West Radio

  • Black Harmony - Don’t Let It Go to Your Head
  • Blood Sisters - Ring My Bell

Radio:X

  • Ozzy Osbourne - Hellraiser
  • Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name

Master Sounds 98.3

  • Charles Wright - Express Yourself
  • The Blackbyrds - Rock Creek Park
  • James Brown - Funky President
  • Macer & The Macks - Soul Power ‘74
  • James Brown - The Payback
  • The JB’s - Grunt
And even from GTA: Vice City in 2013. (10 songs this time)
https://www.cinemablend.com/games/GTA-Vice-City-Back-Steam-Nearly-10-Songs-Removed-50206.html

All songs removed from GTA: Vice City:
  • Michael Jackson -"Billie Jean"
  • Michael Jackson -"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin"
  • Ozzy Osbourne -"Bark At The Moon"
  • Kate Bush -"Wow"
  • Herbie Hancock - "Rock It"
  • Afrika Bambaataa -"Looking For The Perfect Beat"
  • Lionel Richie - "Running with the night"
  • Multiple songs from Radio Espantoso
It's pretty obvious why this is happening: the licenses for the songs expired.

However if you now want to replay any of the above titles, your experience will be totally different (I'm not exaggerating), the soundtracks / radio stations on Grand Theft Auto games are amazing and really add to the immersion and experience.
Can you imagine GTA IV without Glukoza - Швайне (Schweine) playing on the radio when Roman picks Bellic up at the start of the game? Or GTA Vice City without Billy Jean when you hop in the car after you get control of the game for the first time? I can't.

I'd understand if they would remove the songs for new purchases, but rolling out an update and fucking every person that legitimately bought the games? Screw that.

So I'm off pirating these games! (even though I legally own all of them).

/endrant
 
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