Follow TV Tropes

This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.


Denial of Digital Distribution

Go To

Digital distribution has a lot of advantages. You don't need to press any CDs, DVDs, or whatever. You don't have to package them, store them, ship them or manage stock. Also, your customers can't resell their copies of the work. Still, there are some creators who insist on only using physical releases. There are a few reasons why. The creator may feel that the physical release becomes more special if there's no digital equivalent. Maybe licensing issues prevent a digital release. If the work is very obscure and its fanbase vastly prefers owning physical copies, the market for a digital release may be so tiny that even paying the small fee to get it on a service like iTunes isn't worth it.

Doujin works often fall under Denial of Digital Distribution. A common explanation is copyright: Many of them are derivative works, and while IP owners are typically willing to ignore people who sell a limited number of physical copies, they may take action if you're selling a theoretically unlimited number of them digitally. And even if the work is fully original, the creators may feel that digital distribution goes against the "doujin spirit".

In many other cases, digital distribution does exist, but is restricted in some way. Common patterns include the following (note that some don't require a physical release):

  • Denial of Streaming: You can purchase the work digitally, but it's not on services like Spotify or Netflix. The usual justification is that the streaming services pay creators too little — if this argument is used, expect debates on whether the creator's stance is justified, or they're just being greedy. In some cases, the creator will allow the work to be on certain streaming services, but not others.
  • Delayed Digital Distribution: The digital equivalent of Late Export for You, but usually not as severe. Presumably, the creator hopes that impatient fans will buy the physical release, but still wants people who wouldn't have done that anyway to have the option to buy it digitally. Delayed Digital Distribution can also happen if the creator was initially opposed to digital distribution, but later changed their mind and made their work(s) available.
  • Delayed Streaming: A combination of the above. You can purchase the work digitally on its release day, but if you want to stream it, you'll have to wait. This is obviously done to encourage people to buy the work, which is usually more profitable than streaming.note  A particularly mild version of this is Spotify's option to let artists keep their music off the free tier for the first two weeks.
  • Bad Digital Distribution: The digital equivalent of Bad Export for You — the digital copies are watered down compared to the physical ones. Typically, this happens because the creator wanted you to buy it physically instead (e.g. a digital album release missing a bonus track), or because rights issues affect specific parts of the work (e.g. a song being removed because someone who worked on it didn't want it to be on the digital version). Alternatively, the digital version is somehow more expensive than the physical release despite having no extra content.
  • Region-Specific Digital Distribution: The digital equivalent of No Export for You. Manufacture and shipping costs don't apply to digital releases, so in many cases, you might as well release your work worldwide if you're releasing it digitally at all. Still, this doesn't always happen. Maybe licensing issues prevent a worldwide release. Maybe the creators thought an English translation would be too expensive to be justified, but they didn't want to release it untranslated either. Maybe they feared that cultural differences would get the work in hot water. Or maybe there's no obvious reason at all, and it's just a case of favoritism or nationalism... or just an oversight.
  • Partial Digital Distribution: The digital equivalent of Missing Episode. Some of the creator's work is available digitally, but not all. Maybe the missing works are the ones the creator would rather forget anyway. Maybe there are some rights issues that only affect some of the creator's works. Maybe it's just an oversight.
  • Limited Digital Copies: There's only a limited number of digital copies available. This can serve to pacify licensors who don't want you to sell too many copies, but in most cases, its only purpose is pressuring you to buy the thing right now because it might be gone soon — a concept generally known as the "fear of missing out" (FOMO). Alternatively, the digital release is time-limited — again, to pressure you to buy it before it's gone.

If there's no digital distribution and the physical copies go out of print, the work will fall under Keep Circulating the Tapes. Compare Missing Episode, Temporary Online Content, Late Export for You, Bad Export for You and No Export for You.


    open/close all folders 
    Anime and Manga 
  • This was the longest practice from Studio Ghibli, which refused to put out their movies on streaming services. Though that changed in 2020 with HBO Max and Netflix gaining rights to distribute them, as Ghibli needed the money to fund the production of How Do You Live?
  • For several years, Naoki Urasawa refused to release any of his works digitally due to his personal preference for print over digital. He would eventually soften his stance by allowing a digital release of his series Asadora (albeit only for the Japanese market).
  • After the Nintendo Anime Channel was discontinued in 2018, the company refused to re-release Kirby: Right Back at Ya! on any streaming service after that.
  • For the first few years of Viz Media's digital manga service, Hunter × Hunter was not available despite Viz being the sole manga rights holder in English. The most used explanation was that Yoshihiro Togashi, the author, had been on hiatus since Viz transitioned to its current format, so with no new material to show, Viz would have no reason to put it up. Hence, the only legal way to consume back material was to buy the manga volumes in book format, which were still in print and available at bookstores; or via one of two anime adaptations, both of which are far behind the manga in what they've adapted. This changed in late 2022, when Togashi ended his hiatus and the entire backlog of the series was made available on the service alongside the new chapters.

    Comic Books 
  • The Tick has never been distributed digitally, and likely never will be, as publisher New England Comics is in the brick-and-mortar comic-store business, and thus would not allow a digital alternative.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side was an example of this for a long time, with Gary Larson disallowing any official releases of his work except in book collections and calendars, although fans posted the strips online unofficially with great frequency. He eventually relented in late 2019, with the strip's website relaunched to become its official online home.

    Film - Animated 
  • All North American releases of Make Mine Music (VHS and DVD in 2000 and Blu-ray as a Disney Movie Club Exclusive in 2021) cut the opening segment "The Martins and the Coys" because of its massive gunplay. There's also some digital censorship in "All the Cats Join In". Home video releases in other regions, such as the UK and Japan, got an entirely uncut version which also exists on Disney Channel airings in the 80s and 90s. No plans to stream the film on Disney+ have been announced as of April 2023, currently making it the only film in the Disney Animated Canon to be completely excluded, with the exception of clips from "Blue Bayou".

    Film - Live Action 
  • Per Kevin Smith, due to Disney trying to jettison any involvement they had with Dogma, the movie's home distribution rights ended up solely in the hands of Harvey Weinstein. Because the movie isn't currently available to stream and is very unlikely to become so under Weinstein's control (especially since Weinstein's downfall and conviction for sex offenses has made any future negotiations for the rights near impossible), Smith has stated that he'd almost certainly have to pay a ransom to get the rights back and get the movie online.
  • Spellbound remains exclusive to various out of print physical media editions, and has never been released on any streaming service.
  • Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic closing theatres during the first little while and the need to boost HBO Max, Wonder Woman 1984 was released both in theaters wherever possible plus on the (then-US only) aforementioned streaming service. Some unlucky countries haven't had any legal access to the movie at all for months such as France, where theaters were shut down with no hope of reopening in sight. There, the film was prevented from being put either on video-on-demand or limited streaming around Christmas 2020 because of the "Chronology of the Media" laws (it would eventually be released Direct to Video there in April 2021, both physical and digitally). It ended up the most pirated movie of 2020 in France as a result.
  • All of the streaming versions of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are the Special Editions with the 2011-'19 changes. The various VHS and Laserdisc versions have superior audio to any of the modern format releases, in addition to most copies having Han shoot first. Even the theatrical cut Limited Edition DVD (which has worse picture and sound than the Laserdiscs) has better audio than the streaming versions.
  • Due to being one of Disney's most infamous Old Shames, Song of the South was ruled out from ever releasing on Disney+ by then-CEO Bob Iger in the lead-up to the service's launch.
  • Most of the Rodgers and Hammerstein movies disappeared from digital retailers in 2023, as did Disney+'s uploads of The Sound of Music (one of the service's launch titles) and Oklahoma!

  • Many doujin circles rearrange KanColle music and release it on physical albums, but can't/don't release them digitally.
  • Touhou Project: Its creator ZUN allowed a lot of fan works, but his guidelines specifically prohibited sale of fan works via sites primarily oriented for overseas customers (this includes stuff like iTunes and the App Store). Many creators didn't even use Japan-only download sites. This started to change in the late 2010s: After Touhou Tenkuushou ~ Hidden Star in Four Seasons was released on Steam in late 2017, ZUN also started allowing Touhou fan games to use Steam as long as they follow his not-that-strict guidelines. About a year later, a label that publishes Touhou Fan Music on iTunes and Google Play Music appeared. Their releases are available internationally, though they're delayed, streaming only became available in 2021, many circles are still absent, and most of the ones who are there haven't made their full discographies available.

    Live-Action TV 
  • When Barney & Friends was made available for streaming on Tubi TV in April 2021, only Seasons 7-12 were released there, rather than the entire series. In fact, the first six seasons have never been released for streaming, but the official Barney YouTube channel has re-posted some formerly unofficial uploads of some older stuff.
  • Doctor Who got hit by this in two different ways over the years:
    • For a time during The '90s and the Turn of the Millennium, fan-made audio-plus-telesnap reconstructions of Missing Episodes were only distributed on analogue VHS, to prevent them from being made widely available on the Internet, which might have brought IP complaints from the BBC.
    • For a while, large chunks of the classic series were not available on streaming platforms. The revival series and many more acclaimed classic-era serials were up, but the majority of them were relegated to DVD-only status. This eventually changed with the advent of Britbox, which features every surviving episode of the classic series available to watch.
  • Within the Ultra Series, Ultraman Tiga (as well as the last two episodes of its successor Ultraman Dyna, which crossed over with Tiga in the series finale) is consistently missing from streaming services due to Johnny & Associates, the talent agency representing lead actor Hiroshi Nagano, having draconian restrictions on the usage of the likenesses of their clients, especially on the Internet; Tsuburaya Productions' contract with them signed in 1996 cleared home video releases, TV reruns and foreign TV broadcasts but it sure couldn't have accounted for digital streaming. The 2021 compilation clip show Ultraman Chronicle Z: Heroes' Odyssey, which is available for streaming, had to Un-person Nagano to get clear (for a better comparison for Western readers, that would be equivalent to alternate cuts of Marvel Cinematic Universe films where Tony Stark is never seen outside of his Iron Man suit in order to avoid shots of Robert Downey Jr.).
    • Additionally, importing countries who didn't want to write their own Alternative Foreign Theme Song for the series (such as Malaysia) had to wait until Tsuburaya contracted a different artist, Tatsuya Maeda, to cover the opening theme "Take Me Higher", delaying export significantly - all this because Johnny's also flat out forbids exporting of the theme which is performed by their group V6. Indeed, the version of the song on the Ultraman Tiga soundtrack is the Tatsuya Maeda cover instead of the master track, indicating a licensing issue with the song even within Japan as well.
    • Surprisingly in 2022, Shout Factory, under its Tokushoutsu label was able to show the series with Daigo intact with only the opening being changed. Funny enough, the ad that was shown on YouTube does not include Daigo even though Dyna and Gaia host were shown indicating Shout Factory were walking a tightrope on what they're allowed to show.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert (starring John Legend as Jesus) disappeared from digital retailers and streaming services by 2022, but Universal still sells it on DVD.

  • Usually, whenever a record label goes out of business, its entire discography goes out of print, thus enforcing Keep Circulating the Tapes.
    • Out of print albums, especially albums released before 2003, the year that the iTunes Store launched.
    • Compilation albums, especially those that contain songs licensed from multiple record companies.
  • Aaliyah's music from Jive Records is widely available on digital platforms, most notably her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number (1994). However, before September 2021, all her subsequent music—from her time at Blackground Records— was unavailable from streaming services due to the refusal of Aaliyah's uncle and manager, Barry Hankerson.
  • AC/DC held out of iTunes until 2012, because the band's then-latest album had an exclusive distribution deal with Wal-Mart and Verizon.
  • Only one AdamKadmon album — the compilation album sand — has been released digitally.
  • Akatsuki Records is a major Touhou Project arrangement circle whose music has appeared in Rhythm Games. It took two years for their music to become available digitally.
  • Alstroemeria Records: Most albums released before POP CULTURE 4 or after IMAGINARY JOURNEY are missing from iTunes.
  • Amateras Records:
    • The songs "Indomitable Spirit", "Flying!", "Question." and "Conflict" (including remixes) have been removed from every digital release due to Konami licensing.
    • Brilliant Story and its instrumental version both miss the last track. Similarly, Sparkling Alteration and its instrumental version both miss the last two tracks (possibly because they come from the TOHO PARTYBOX series).
  • A One: Their early albums (such as POLYGON RAIN) lack digital releases. Additionally, the digital releases of MONTAGE Blue and MONTAGE Yellow have had the KanColle track removed.
  • The songs by the Canadian band The Arrows, which include "Meet Me in the Middle", "Talk Talk" and "Heart of the City", are not available for streaming.
  • The Beatles: Before 2010, the band refused to license its music for digital downloads because of legal issues between Apple Records (the band's personal record label) and Apple Inc. (which owns iTunes). In 2015, the Beatles' catalogue was finally added to streaming services.
  • While the bulk of Captain Beefheart's discography was readily available to stream, his seminal album Trout Mask Replica was absent from digital services for several years, due to Frank Zappa's estate (who own the rights to the album) being preoccupied with reissues of Zappa's back catalog. In 2021, Trout Mask Replica would finally receive a streaming release, premiering on the hi-res service Qobuz and making its way to other services after a month.
  • Beyoncé's Lemonade was released on Tidal on April 23, 2016, and made available for digital purchase the following day. Physical copies became available on May 6. However, the album first appeared on Spotify and Apple Music three years after its initial release.
  • In 2018, BUTAOTOME made their old Touhou albums available digitally. However, their old original albums (Bowling, Chess, Billiards, Hanafuda and Doubt) did not get digital re-releases. Neither did the Solo Buta-R album Kaen Ranzen, which features guest arrangers from other circles.
  • C-CLAYS have released over 70 CDs. Only SOLE, LUNA, YES! and CORE are sold digitally. Notably, these albums do not feature vocalist Mai Kotohge, but several MUONKAGURA albums featuring her are available.
  • The digital releases of CrazyBeats's albums are missing the remixed A-One tracks.
  • De La Soul had been eager to digitally release their catalogue for years, which was an astonishingly uphill battle. Their original record label contracts only cleared the many samples used in their music for physical media distribution (specifically vinyl and cassette), with the wording leaving releases on developing technologies of the future like the internet in limbo. Up until 2017, the distribution rights to their music were owned by Warner Music Group, who were reluctant to clear the samples or renegotiate contracts, but things changed when Tommy Boy Records reclaimed its back catalogue from Warners, with De La Soul announcing in 2019 that their music would finally become available in that year... before it was postponed indefinitely as they were unsatisfied only receiving 10% of the royalties, with Tommy Boy pocketing the rest. After attempts to settle the dispute ended in failure, things only changed again when Tommy Boy itself was acquired by Reservoir Media in 2021, who began directly cooperating with the trio to get a digital release, with the trio successfully claiming full ownership of their music. On March 3, 2023, De La Soul's catalog was finally released onto streaming services.
  • Garth Brooks is notorious for not putting his music on digital platforms for two reasons: he dislikes the payment models provided by most streaming services, and because he thinks that being able to purchase individual songs takes away from the integrity of the album. He did start his own streaming service called GhostTunes for a short time, and has made some of his later albums availble on Amazon Music, but the rest are unaccounted for and can only be purchased physically.
  • Doujin circle Halozy has suspended all of their activities in October 2017 with no plans to return to the doujin music industry. As of January 2020, none of their albums are available digitally, despite rumors flying about that they are.
  • The last of the three studio albums by Headpins, titled Head Over Heels, is not available for streaming. However, three songs from it are featured on The Complete Greatest Hits, which is available for streaming.
  • Outsider musician Jandek has exclusively made his music available via mail order or, in recent years, his online storefront and has never released it onto streaming services or digital storefronts.
  • JoJo's first two albums, JoJo (2004) and The High Road (2006) are unavailable digitally in their original forms. This relates to her contractual battle with her original label, the aforementioned Blackground Records. After she was released, JoJo eventually re-recorded her first two albums and re-release them with redone vocals and production. Eventually, with a deal made to put Aaliyah's albums on streaming in 2021, JoJo's original albums eventually followed suit.
  • A little of Kanako Hoshino's music is on Spotify and iTunes, but EIGHT ELEMENTS OF THE STAR, EIGHT ELEMENTS OF THE STAR ~ANOTHER SENSE~, Prism, Starry ~the way to the SIRIUS~, Articulation and Sky Arium are missing.
  • Due to The KLF deleting their entire discography upon disbanding in the 1990's, long before the advent of digital distribution, their music was completely unavailable for streaming for years. This was eventually averted in 2021 when the band released a greatest hits compilation and a revised version of their album Chill Outnote  to streaming services.
  • Kid Rock formerly denied his music from appearing on digital or streaming services, which notoriously resulted in his 2008 hit "All Summer Long" underperforming on the charts relative to not one but two karaoke versions. He has since made his music digitally available.
  • The digital releases of Kim Mitchell's Greatest Hits Album are missing the intro and outro, titled "Transcendental Soda" and "Hare Soda", respectively.
  • King Crimson are widely considered the most famous case of this across media: de-facto leader Robert Fripp spent the better part of two decades openly reviling digital distribution for the low royalties artists received from it, and did everything he could to ensure that the band's music could only be listened to on a physical format. Alongside Prince, Fripp's affinity for going after even fan uploads became the stuff of legend among fans, and the idea of King Crimson appearing on digital platforms was treated as wishful thinking at best... which made it all the more surprising when the entire King Crimson catalog was added to Spotify in 2019, with other platforms following suit over the course of the next few months.
  • Lostprophets: The band's discography went out of print following Ian Watkins' conviction. Sony Music's license to their first three albums expired in 2020, but those albums are still available in the UK (through Visible Noise Records).
  • The Touhou Fan Music circle Maikaze put their music on Spotify, but it had to be removed because ZUN, the Touhou creator, didn't allow it. Their music then saw authorized re-releases on a few digital platforms without the possibility of streaming... and the label later decided to put Touhou music on streaming services after all, effectively restoring the Spotify releases.
  • monochrome-coat have released 19 albums. Only LOCK is available digitally.
  • Despite being widely considered one of New Order's best albums, Substance remained absent from streaming and digital download platforms all the way until 2020, by which point the rest of their studio discography had already been put up. Even after it finally got included, the version used was the CD one, leaving the cassette-exclusive songs in Keep Circulating the Tapes purgatory.
  • Despite being one of of the few Touhou Project arrangement circles to make albums almost exclusively in English (and good English at that — not Gratuitous English), ORANGE JAM hasn't published its music via the label that distributes Touhou music internationally on iTunes and Google Play Music.
  • For some reason, the final album by the Albertan artist Paul Janz is the only one available for streaming.
  • The streaming releases of the PFFR album United We Doth have some of the tracks mislabeled and are missing two tracks, including Snoop Dogg's outro.
  • Pizuya's Cell normally doesn't use digital distribution. However, the circle did sell some cheap digital compilations for Black Friday 2019. These releases were both time-limited and quantity-limited.
  • Prince was constantly an infamously vocal opponent of most digital distribution services; like most major artists, he decried the low royalties they provided, and the only platform he did embrace was the paywall-heavy Tidal. Prince's music wouldn't be made available on more accessible platforms until after his death in 2016, with most people darkly crediting it to the fact that him being dead meant that he could no longer object to his songs being on YouTube or Spotify.
  • Queen + Paul Rodgers' The Cosmos Rocks is the only full original studio album under the Queen name not currently available digitally, possibly because it was a relative commercial and critical flop. Also the case with the 1997 compilation Queen Rocks, which notably included exclusive The Not-Remix versions of some songs note  and one new song sung by Brian May, "No One But You (Only The Good Die Young)".
  • For a long while, Radiohead openly refused to make their material officially available on any digital platform (barring In Rainbows and its "pay what you want" service), citing issues with the way they operated in regards to artist royalties. They eventually changed their opinion in 2016, with almost their entire backlog being made available on all digital download and streaming platforms as part of the Radiohead Public Library, a wider project that saw their backlog Rereleased for Free. The only song not put up was "Pop is Dead", a huge Old Shame for the band.
  • Seventh Heaven MAXION started publishing its albums on DLSite and MelonbooksDL in early 2016, but there are still eleven albums it never got around to re-releasing. Additionally, the offered downloads are lossy.
  • There's an unusual case with Sheriff's Self-Titled Album, which is also their only album. For some reason, the CD and digital releases end after the false ending of the final song, "Give Me Rock 'N' Roll", therefore making people think that it's the real ending. The vinyl and cassette releases have the full ending.
  • Most of SOUND HOLIC's discography is available digitally, but there are some exceptions, and the digital releases tend to come later than most albums that were released at the same event.
  • ShinRa-Bansho: The albums Season 4 you, M other, On That Day, I Looked Up at the Sky, Doppel and the original Ano Hi no Yume no Alice are missing from the digital marketplaces that offer their music. Also, Touhou Utattemita lacks "Hoshi wo Mawase Tsuki yori Hayaku"
  • Almost every release by Swans is readily available on digital services...with the glaring exception of their sixth studio album The Burning World, presumably due to the fact that frontman Michael Gira considers the album an Old Shame.
  • SYNC.ART'S: Its first three collaboration albums with Lunark have been released on multiple digital platforms, though it was a while after their physical releases. Out of all its non-collaboration albums, only Kitty is available digitally.
  • Taylor Swift has a history of Denial of Streaming: Her album 1989 did not appear on Spotify when it was released in October 2014, and the rest of her catalogue was removed the next month. In March 2015, all of her music except 1989 was put on Tidal (which doesn't have a free tier). In June 2015, she refused to put her music on Apple Music because she thought it was unfair that artists wouldn't see any royalties from streams during the three-month free trial. Apple acquiesced to her demand, and the following week, she announced that 1989 would stream for the first time on Apple Music (alongside her back catalogue). However, she didn't want to put it on other services yet. As of 2017, her music is back on Spotify, and also available on Pandora and Google Play Music. Interestingly, in December 2015, a sneaky troll committed copyright infringement by disguising Taylor Swift's song "I Knew You Were Trouble" under the name of Welsh rock band Lostprophets.
  • Tears for Fears: Despite being owned in North America by the same parent company as the band's Mercury Records albums, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending was conspicuously absent from streaming services worldwide until 2020, when the band signed with the management company Full Stop. Before then, the only part of the album to be officially available on a streaming platform was the music video for "Closest Thing to Heaven", which Ear Music uploaded in 2012.
  • TERRA: Their first album REVOLUTION was not released digitally at all. Their second album EVOLUTION was... but not for Europe.
  • tool initially resisted releasing their catalogue to streaming services, although in 2017 they were reported to be considering it, and finally did release their albums digitally in August 2019, just before the debut of Fear Inoculum.
    • The Unlucky Morpheus collaboration album Parallelism gamma is not available digitally even though both of the participating groups are okay with digital distribution.
    • The digital release of Am I already dead? doesn't include the screamless version of track 8. Similarly, Japanese ogre story doesn't include the instrumental/screamless versions.
  • Unlucky Morpheus:
    • The original versions of Hypothetical Box, REBIRTH and Jealousy are not available digitally. Neither are the instrumental versions of REBIRTH and Jealousy.
    • The albums Faith and Warfare, HEAVY METAL BE-BOP and Miseria Kills Slaughterously are not available for digital purchase.
    • The UNDEAD CORPORATION collaboration album Parallelism gamma is not available digitally even though both of the participating groups are okay with digital distribution.
  • The self-titled debut album from Welsh sophisti-pop duo Waterfront, which included their Signature Song "Cry" (a top 10 hit in both the US and UK), was first released in 1989, but never available digitally until 2020.
  • Kanye West:
    • His album The Life of Pablo was originally a Tidal exclusive, and West vowed that it would never appear on any other services [than Tidal], nor would it ever be for sale. It was released on other streaming services and for digital purchase on his website on April 1, 2016.
    • In 2022, West's Donda 2 took it to an even greater extreme than Pablo: not only would it not receive a release on streaming services or digital stores, it would also be exclusive to the Donda Stem Player, a device costing $200 USD. This led to Billboard disqualifying the album from its records charts, as the nature of it being tied exclusively to a physical device fell under their criteria for a "bundling", not as a proper album release.
  • Whitey, out of frustration with major record companies, began selling his music exclusively through Bandcamp and as physical copies.
  • The Touhou Project arrangement circle Yellow Zebra. While it disbanded in 2011, its successor R-note was still active when the label that releases Touhou music digitally appeared (and is still active as of January 2020). Neither circle is on it.
  • Neil Young indefinitely pulled all of his music from Spotify in 2022 to protest their support for controversial podcaster Joe Rogan, who Young accused of spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 Pandemic. Young issued the platform an ultimatum, stating that he'd remove his material unless Rogan was kicked off, and he made good on his threat two days later. Young's music remained available on other streaming platforms such as Apple Music (who were quick to tout the availability of Young's music on social media advertisements and their front page) and Amazon Music (whom Neil personally endorsed). Soon afterwards, Joni Mitchell followed suit with pulling her music from Spotify, followed by Nils Lofgren (who has served as Young's bandmate in Crazy Horse), Failure, India.Arie, and each of the members of Crosby, Stills & Nash.
  • Yuuhei Katharsis can't release its music digitally because it's a bunch of KanColle rearrangements.
  • Yuuhei Satellite has done a mostly good job of making their catalogue available for purchase (not streaming) on iTunes and Google Play, but some (not all) of the event-exclusive and limited retailer-specific CDs are missing. Also, all but a few early sample albums are missing. This isn't a big deal for most of them, whose songs later appear on an album that did get a digital release anyway. However, there are a few exceptions. One of them is the Title Track on the sample Hana to Ame. Its original version was never re-released, and even its cover version only showed up on a physical exclusive CD.
  • ZUN's albums. The ten Touhou – ZUN's Music Collection CDs and five Akyu's Untouched Score soundtrack albums were released between 2002 and 2016, but didn't appear on iTunes and Google Play Music until 2018, and didn't show up on streaming services until 2021.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Star Wars Roleplaying Games developed by Fantasy Flight Games do not have PDF versions officially on sale courtesy of a detail in their contract with Lucasfilm/Disney that is meant to be a non-contest clause (legally speaking, only Electronic Arts has the rights to create digital content). It's supposed to prevent FFG from releasing videogames, but it's broad enough to stop PDF releases too.
    • Wizards of the Coast had this issue as well, and apparently had to fight to release original PDFs on their website.

    Video Games 
  • The entire Bookworm series was inexplicably de-listed from all digital stores in 2016, and was outright scrubbed from PopCap's site during this time. As a result, the only way to play the original game is its own rare physical release or console ports, the only way to play Adventures is to own its even rarer physical release, and the only way to play Adventures Volume 2 is to own the Wordy Wonder Bundle, an excessively rare physical release that comes bundled with it and the other two aforementioned games, and regularly runs at least 30 USD secondhand.
  • Crisis Core is one of the few of Square Enix's games for the PlayStation Portable that wasn't made available digitally following its physical release. No one knows why for sure, but fandom speculation points to one of the game's characters actually using the likeness of Japanese singer GACKT and suggested that whatever contract he and Square Enix made during the game's production doesn't allow for a digital release. Whatever the reason, it isn't applicable to the 2022 Reunion remake, which will be available on the digital storefront Steam and the storefronts of all the consoles the game is releasing on.
  • The Devolver Digital game Demon Throttle took this to its logical extreme, as it was advertised to be a game that's exclusively sold as a physical release.
  • Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code, the last major version of Melty Blood, couldn't be bought on its own. It only came bundled with the Carnival Phantasm Season 3 limited edition set. Anyone who only wanted the game scrambled to get the set, and people who lived outside of Japan were even more screwed, with some people having to pay more than $300 to have it exported. It eventually got a digital release on Steam, 5 years later with its own set of problems.
  • The Nintendo Labo kits and Ring Fit Adventure are among the few Nintendo Switch games that cannot be downloaded on the eShop. This is because the games come with physical peripherals (cardboard accessories for the former, the Ring-Con and Leg Strap for the latter), so getting digital versions of those games without the peripherals would be incomplete experiences.
  • The 2005 version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted will likely never be sold digitally again, especially after the 2012 version came out.
  • Republic: The Revolution. After its original publisher Eidos folded, the IP went to Rebellion, who did put it on in 2009 — but then pulled it again in 2011 and have effectively denied any sort of digital distribution of the game ever since.
  • Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a Compilation Rerelease featuring three Super Mario Bros. games, was only made available until March 31, 2021, both digitally on the eShop and physically.
  • The Touhou Project games became quite popular in the 2000s, but ZUN refused to release them digitally or even make them available for overseas fans for a long time. In August 2014, he made an exception by releasing Touhou Kishinjou ~ Double Dealing Character on Playism, but did not make any other game available. He changed his mind in 2017 — Touhou Tenkuushou ~ Hidden Star in Four Seasons was released on Steam, and he started gradually releasing the catalogue of official Touhou games on Steam, with the newest ones first.
  • The PlayStation 4 port of Puyo Puyo Tetris was initially only available as a physical disc, not receiving a digital release until 2019 due to issues caused by an exclusivity license granted to Ubisoft for Tetris Ultimatenote . When Tetris Ultimate was delisted, a digital version of Puyo Puyo Tetris almost immediately followed.
  • After December 14th., 2022, all games made by Epic Games were delisted from Steam and GOG. This includes all the games in the Unreal series and Bulletstorm.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons episode "Stark Raving Dad" was available on sites like Hulu, but it was eventually pulled in 2019 following the release of the controversial documentary Leaving Neverland, which introduced some new alleged facts about Michael Jackson's child abuse, and is the only Simpsons episode to be excluded from Disney+. It is only available on Google Play, but you have to buy the entirety of Season 3 to get it.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • As of March 2023, Netflix has the first four seasons, while Hulu has the ninth and final season. Seasons 5 through 8 are not available on any streaming service, but the whole series can still be purchased digitally.
  • Of the Classic Disney Shorts, several of them are unavailable on Disney+.
  • In August 2022, several series were removed from HBO Max following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, with the given reason being to avoid paying residuals for shows with smaller audiences. Many of the delisted shows were animated programming, including (but not limited to): Esme & Roy, The Fungies!, Tig 'n Seek, Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs, and Close Enough.
    • Infinity Train, Little Ellen, Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart, and OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes were not only removed from the service, but every social media video and post ever made that mentioned them were wiped from the record as well, though the YouTube videos were restored after two months. The shows also had any available music removed from streaming services like Spotify, and Infinity Train's DVD releases went out of print.
    • Messy Goes To Okido and The Ollie & Moon Show, unlike the above-mentioned programs, are no longer legally available at all following their removal. Additionally, only 13 episodes of the first season of Esme & Roy are available for purchase, even though the show had two 26 episode seasons.
    • Final Space became a worst-case scenario of all the removals. The series became a tax writeoff for WBD and deleted from other storefronts. Netflix's international license is set to expire on December 16, 2023; and the third and final season will never be released on DVD.
    • On 31 December 2022, all of the post-1951 Looney Tunes cartoons (equating to 256 removed shorts) and Seasons 4-6 of The Flintstones (78 episodes) were removed from HBO Max due to their streaming license expiring.
    • Most classic Cartoon Network shows aren't on the service in Europe. As it seems that The Powerpuff Girls (1998)'s existence has been forgotten by most European Cartoon Network feeds since the reboot came out, it's probably the least likely to be added.
      • However, due to the reboot not making the franchise forgotten in European countries, it might actually be most likely instead.


Video Example(s):


Infinity Train

Geoff describes how Infinity Train was such a massive victim of the purging of animated content at the hands of Warner Bros. Discovery, describing how its content is irrecoverably lost, its physical media stopped printing, and even its creator encouraging piracy.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (43 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScrewedByTheNetwork

Media sources: