Update: In a statement to USgamer, Rockstar has confirmed that the Vladivostok FM station will be losing some songs:
Our original story continues below.
"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."
A number of songs are set to be removed from Grand Theft Auto IV due to the expiration of their licenses, reports Kotaku.
Grand Theft Auto IV will be losing some of its music tracks due to the expiration of license agreements that allowed the usage of the tracks in the game. It appears that the licenses are for ten-year periods. An industry source speaking to Kotaku stated that the game will be losing "a lot" of music. The source failed to specify which tracks would be disappearing.
This isn't the first time that music has been removed from a Grand Theft Auto game long after release. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had a similar patch in 2014 which added a few features (like xInput controller support) but also removed some of the game's licensed music. This removal also happened roughly ten years after the game's original release, supporting the notion that the games use a ten-year license. If the licenses are measured in ten-year increments by the game's release date - Grand Theft Auto IV released for consoles in late April of 2008 - then we may very well see the same problem repeat itself for Grand Theft Auto V in September of 2023.
Unlike the San Andreas patch, it seems that players will be notified on the PlayStation 3 to download digital versions of their songs. How exactly this preservation scheme will be carried out on other platforms (if at all) is not yet known. Suffice to say, if you enjoy the tunes in Grand Theft Auto IV, you'll have just a couple of weeks to continue enjoying them before they're gone for good. (Unless you install some kind of mod that restores them, that is.)
What do you think of removal of music from games long after they've been released? Should customers retain the ability to use music for games they purchased years ago? Let us know in the comments below!