Some GTA 4 Songs Being Removed, But New Ones Will Take Their Place

Rockstar plans to introduce new music.

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Update: Rockstar has confirmed that music will be removed from the game, but it plans to make up for that by introducing new songs in their place. A spokesperson told GameSpot, "Due to music licensing restrictions, we are required to remove certain songs from the in-game soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto IV and its Episodes, in particular a large portion of the Russian pop station, Vladivostok FM. However we are replacing some of those songs with a new set of songs on that station. We will update our customer support website with new information as soon as it is available." The original story follows.

As incredible as it is, Grand Theft Auto IV is coming up on its tenth birthday later this month. And this means that some music licenses will expire and Rockstar will have to remove a bunch of tracks from the game's soundtrack.

According to Kotaku, on April 26, a bunch of 10-year agreements will be up, and Rockstar will patch several songs out of the game. Kotaku reports that sources have said that "a lot" of music will be removed, but the developer has not given a list of specific tracks.

This happened with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as well; in 2014, the studio took 17 songs out of the game. But what makes GTA IV's situation particularly notable is that there's apparently a workaround for PS3 players. Kotaku reports that, prior to April 26, owners of the game on PS3 will receive system messages giving them the option of downloading digital versions of the tracks. As a result, they'll be able to continue listening to the tracks in-game. It's unclear why or how this is happening, or if a similar option will be given to PC and Xbox 360 players. We've reached out to Rockstar for comment and clarification.

Grand Theft Auto IV launched way back in 2008 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, and it achieved significant critical and commercial success. GameSpot, for instance, gave it a 10/10 in our original review. In addition, be sure to check out our feature on all of the biggest game anniversaries happening in 2018.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

What's the big deal? If someone is still playing GTA IV, they need to get a new console or an upgraded PC, period.

Avatar image for tux249
tux249

@DeadManRollin: there’s no shame in going back to play some gta 4 I do it all the time and I have a ps4 pro and a vr... i’m even doing it right now as i’m typing this

Avatar image for DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

@tux249: That's great man. I'd love to play the game again, too.

Avatar image for johno357
johno357

Dont update it. As bad as the music is it should stay the same.

Avatar image for bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

People argue that the modern digital distribution age is much better, that now bugs can be fixed & games can be continually improved upon... and then stuff like this happens. Now the game you paid for has less content than it did at launch. At least they're replacing them this time, I remember reading that article about San Andreas a few years back.

Avatar image for revanxknight
RevanxKnight

@bbq_R0ADK1LL: I agree with your point. However, in this case it’s music on an in-game radio station. I’d rather it be this than losing actual content, like multiplayer features.

Avatar image for poseidion
poseidion

Why don't just renew those songs' licenses and keep the game true to it's release.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo
DudeBroPartyYo

Isnt it a good thing to refresh the playlist with some new songs. I mostly listened to Rock station and little bit of classic Rap due to not having Heavy/Extreme Metal station but i mostly used player custom radio station so even if they removed all the music it wouldnt bother me, can change my custom station tracks depending on my mood or whatever.

Avatar image for danyjr
danyjr

Like any of you who are complaining have touched GTA IV in years...

Avatar image for PSYCHOV3N0M
PSYCHOV3N0M

@danyjr: Lol PRINCIPLES man.....

Avatar image for firedrakez
FireDrakeZ

Considering how Rockstar's GTA V is now the most profitable media in entertainment history with $6 billion in revenue, it should be easy for them to renew the licenses of these tracks as well as those for previous GTA releases, as a thank you for their fans.

But it seems their plan is to make as much money as they can from their gullible fans. After all isn't that what GTA is? Glorifying stealing and murder as a form of entertainment.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo
DudeBroPartyYo

@firedrakez: When was the last time you played the game anyways, maybe years ago. How many of the removed songs did you listen to?

Isnt it a good thing to refresh the playlist with some new songs. I mostly listened to Rock station and little bit of classic Rap due to not having Heavy/Extreme Metal station but i mostly used player custom radio station.

Avatar image for firedrakez
FireDrakeZ

@dudebropartyyo The point is Rockstar shouldn't be removing material from games that their customers have already paid for. If they want to do that for new customers that is fine, but not for those who already own the game. It would be easy for them to renew those licenses considering they have earned a $6 billion profit just from GTA V.

Avatar image for Keivz_basic
Keivz_basic

@firedrakez: Truth is we never really pay for games, online the license to play a game. On the flip side I wonder if this effects disc based games. I have it on disc but it has an online check when installed. I’d love to be immune to such a thing. I really like some of those Russian songs and yes I still play it

Avatar image for firedrakez
FireDrakeZ

@Keivz_basic You would have to play offline to listen to the original tracks. Otherwise an automatic patch will remove those music tracks and replace those with new ones. It works for me since I have an older model 360 that is in storage that doesn't have a wifi adapter, so I can still play the GTA IV disc there to listen to the original tracks and then play the newer version either on my 360 S or my Xbox One X to listen to the new tracks.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo
DudeBroPartyYo

@firedrakez: They are not really removing material, more like swapping it for a different one.

Avatar image for firedrakez
FireDrakeZ

@dudebropartyyo: Yup much better option compared to previous GTA games. I guess they were willing to spend some of the money they earned from GTA to buy new licenses for new music tracks. That is acceptable.

I actually sent Rockstar feedback suggesting that they renew the licenses on the older music tracks or finding substitutes, considering they have earned billions from GTA V, so it is good of them to listen to us for a change.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo
DudeBroPartyYo

@firedrakez: Fair enough. I mostly listen to my own radio playlists.

Avatar image for ello432
ello432

It's always disappointing when Rock Star has to do this to their games. though I don't think this will be as bad as GTA3 , VC and SA where they removed the expired songs by replacing the game with ports of the mobile version.

Avatar image for jamesbr27
JamesBR27

"Grand Theft Auto IV launched way back in 2004 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC"

You mean Grand Theft Auto San Andreas launched in 2004 for PS2 and Xbox and 2005 for PC.

GTA IV launched on april 29 2008 for PS3 and Xbox 360 and in 2009 for PC.

Avatar image for johnhayabusa
JohnHayabusa

>Grand Theft Auto IV launched way back in 2004 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC

That is a little waaaaaay back, GameSpot.

Avatar image for StokeMeAClipper
StokeMeAClipper

Normally when the topic of buying a copy of a game is raised, it is pointed out that buying a copy entitles you to use/listen to/watch the contents on that disc. In my opinion, that includes the songs included on that copy when it was purchased. I suspect that there is fine print that covers this, but talking realistically, the vast majority of people don't read the fine print and in a case like this, shouldn't have to.

Legal BS like this is why I am so opposed to the concept of gaming eventually becoming all service/cloud based. In that scenario, it is possible that your favourite game could be removed due to licensing issues, but also because it is not deemed worth the resources to keep it available (the machine it runs on or the server bandwidth) due to lack of popularity. Because it is entirely cloud based, there isn't the possibility of finding a workaround like keeping your copy offline, because it was never on your machine in the first place. We as consumers are left entirely powerless and the content we can access is entirely in the hands of those running the service, which in turn is dictated by popularity and existing license agreements. I personally enjoy playing old and/or obscure games from time to time, so streamed gaming is something I am very much opposed to.

I didn't think however that crap like this would affect a game I bought on disc 10 years ago (or at least I didn't at the time I bought it). The music on the radio stations is part of the vibe of GTA games. I can understand maybe removing them from digital versions purchased after a particular date, but for them to patch out content from an existing version is not OK in my opinion. I shouldn't have to resort to keeping my PS3 offline just so content I paid for the privilege to watch/listen to/play doesn't get patched out.

Avatar image for darkelf83
darkelf83

@StokeMeAClipper: This is why I'd much rather buy games on GoG over Steam or games with disc installs that work at launch, without needing a patch. At least I own the game, so long as I can keep a working version around. Instead of "renting" it from Valve or somebody else.

Avatar image for spon000
spon000

@StokeMeAClipper: Well spoken. Hear Hear!

Avatar image for lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

Seems like you purchased these tracks when you purchased the game? When you buy a track on iTunes, do you need to buy it again in 10 years? I know they have some sort of contract, but why would that be part of it.

Avatar image for nedrith
nedrith

@lionheartssj1: Because you didn't purchase the tracks, you bought the game. You have no legal right to the tracks only to the software that you bought, hence you have no right to extract the tracks from the game disc and play them by themselves. When you buy a track on iTunes you are buying the tracks.

As for why it would be part of the contract, chances are pricing. I'm sure they saved a bit of money by limiting the amount of time they could use the music.

Avatar image for Pawfalcon
Pawfalcon

@nedrith: Those tracks are part of the game, a soundtrack isn't something separate to it. That's like some media guy back in the day walking in and scratching out the audio in my old VHS because the song that was playing in that part of the movie is no longer licensed by the movie production company. That person is gonna be politely told to go f*** themselves.

Avatar image for nedrith
nedrith

@Pawfalcon@lionheartssj1: I doubt the game will stop you from playing the tracks if you delete the update or just don't update at all. Hence you still have the track(the original VHS in your analogy) however you can't update the VHS to the lasted version of the movie which was provided to you free of cost.

I don't agree with the decision to remove the tracks, however the issue lies with the fact that the developer/publisher shouldn't have licensed a song for a limited duration of time and should have fixed the issue by renewing the license instead of removing the track. With that said it's their decision. The question now needs to be is the issue important enough that people are going to step up and tell them that it is wrong or are people going to do what they usually do and make a fuss over it for a few days and forget it ever happened. I expect that latter and so they will continue to do stuff like this.

Avatar image for lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

@nedrith: I see what you mean, but I guess that raises the question of older games renewing licenses. Does this mean that Rockstar is forced to pay re-license fees for older game like GTA III or Vice City since they don't have a way of scrubbing them? Or is the act of altering their Steam copies good enough to satisfy the agreement?

Avatar image for lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

@Pawfalcon: That's what I would think too. Just because it's easier to do it through patch updates doesn't change the fact they're altering a product after you have purchased it. There are a lot of older games that still have their tracks, they just don't have a means of taking them back, so I see this more as we have a means of doing it now so we will.

Avatar image for DarkReign2022
DarkReign2022

One of the many follies of online gaming. GTAIII and VC have never had their soundtracks tampered with because they don't have online connections. Just makes me thankful I can do use my old consoles workout needing to go online. They'll be forever timeless while today's consoles will come and go with their networks

Avatar image for lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

@DarkReign2022: Thank goodness for that, because VC's soundtrack is golden. I would just cruise in that game listening to the radio.

Avatar image for alien33
alien33

@lionheartssj1: Probably the best soundtrack in GTA history.

Avatar image for good_coop89
Good_Coop89

They better not take out David Axelrod. That is GTA 4 to me.

Avatar image for everson_rm
everson_rm

This is ridiculous. Imagine if they removed every Guns N Roses soundracks from Terminator 2!

They need to pay artist for a lifetime contract. Period.

Avatar image for good_coop89
Good_Coop89

@everson_rm: Or San Andreas, for that matter!

Avatar image for mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

Here's a solution download all the CDs you want into your Xbox 360 and play away remember Xbox 360 has custom soundtrack across all games

Avatar image for ello432
ello432

@mariokart64fan: Rock Star is way ahead of ya. they have added the custom soundtrack feature to all the GTA since 3 when they do the 10th anniversary update to remove the expired songs and GTA 4 already has this feature.

Avatar image for Black_Knight77
Black_Knight77

Keep your consoles offline. Problem solved. I keep my ps2 and ps3 offline.

And please correct this : '' Grand Theft Auto IV launched way back in 2004 for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC [...] ''

It's 2008, not 2004.

Avatar image for Pawfalcon
Pawfalcon

@Black_Knight77: Doesn't help with more recent games though if this becomes more of an issue.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

Those of you saying this is stupid, or whatever, clearly don’t know a thing about music licensing. Just take one music business class and you won’t be blown away by things like this anymore.

Avatar image for darkelf83
darkelf83

@frosty988: I understand they cannot sell new copies of the game with said music as their license is expired but where does it cover the removal of music? As others have mentioned, music with such licenses has been used for many decades and you don't see them attempting to tell people those pieces of media need to be modified.

Everyone knows that patching out music in already owned copies is ridiculous. This is a topic like microtransactions that the community needs to push back against. We're slowly losing even the little rights we have to software.

Avatar image for WarGreymon77
WarGreymon77

Absolutely ridiculous. But of course, I only plug the network cable into my PS3 these days if I feel like some Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.

Avatar image for blitxxx1981
blitxxx1981

Ok, another dumb decision to ruin the anniversary or return of any game...

but anyways, so? It is GTA 4, lols, personally the worst in the series imo (terrible controls & mechanics on ALL platforms, f-ugly to begin with even in it's own time, so so story (not that GTA is known for epic stories), PC mods couldn't even fix the game (lol, they tried), etc etc etc.

Avatar image for alien33
alien33

@blitxxx1981: GTA4 has the best story of all GTA games and is up there with Vice City tied at No.1. Then, I would place San Andreas at No.2 and GTA5 at No.3.

Avatar image for KahnArtizt
KahnArtizt

@blitxxx1981: it’s only “the worst” because every other game is superb. And no way did it look fugly in 2008. I remember that game being the prettiest game out at the time with the exception of Metal Gear Solid 4 AND it was open world. And the controls were still WAAAAAY better than anything from PS2.

Avatar image for blitxxx1981
blitxxx1981

@KahnArtizt: I do agree maybe I feel it was the worst GTA because the others felt far more superior all around to me

And yea, you're right: PS2 controllers were clunky (lols), which is a shame because the PS2 had better ports (more stable, improved fps, better gfx, etc) of Vice City Stories & Liberty City Stories from the PSP plus still had GTA 3, Vice, & Andreas

Avatar image for nabinator
Nabinator

This is really stupid. Once it's in, it's in. Shouldn't be leaving.

Also how are they going to take songs away if you refuse to update?

Avatar image for Decoy77
Decoy77

@nabinator: First they have contracts with whoever own's the rights to the songs. Some are forever some are for only a # of years. Seems 10 years was the length for these being removed. So they must legally remove them or they music rights holder could take them to court. And obviously if someone doesn't download the patch then they'd still have them. But Rockstar has done their job by making the latest version out there one without the songs in it.

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