Having already alerted fans that it would happen, Rockstar has now updated Grand Theft Auto IV to remove a set of songs due to expiring licensing agreements. Among the more notable removals are David Bowie’s “Fascination” and “Evil Woman” by ELO.
Songs were removed from GTA IV the base game, as well as expansions The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. Additionally, songs were pulled from GTA: Episodes from Liberty City. A “large portion” of the in-game Russian radio station Vladivostok FM were removed, though Liberty Rock Radio was also affected.
While it is a bummer that songs were removed, it is a reality of the music-licensing business. The songs were removed on April 26, which is almost 10 years to the day after GTA IV was released on April 29, 2008.
As Rockstar promised, it added some new songs to the Vladivostok FM station to make up for the removals. People on the GTA Forums (via Kotaku) put together lists of all the songs that were removed and added–you can see those lists here.
If you keep GTA IV in an offline state wherever you’re playing, you may be able to keep the tracks. Rockstar also removed songs from GTA: San Andreas, so this is nothing out of the ordinary. It may happen again with GTA V somewhere down the road as well.