Rockstar Pulls David Bowie And More From GTA 4

Rockstar Pulls David Bowie And More From GTA 4

As reported previously by our sister site in the UK, Rockstar is removing a number of songs in Grand Theft Auto 4 due to licensing issues. A sizeable patch for the game went live today cutting a lot of songs across all the radio stations, including some classics, while only adding a few back by way of some lesser known Russian tracks, mostly by Seryoga.

Screenshot: Grand Theft Auto 4

Confirming a report by Kotaku UK, a Rockstar rep previously told Kotaku that the Vladivostok FM station would be particularly hard hit, and that turns out to have been the case.

All but one Seryoga song were switched out, and while the new tracks in their place are decent enough, anyone longing for the days of tearing down Liberty City’s streets thumping along to Ruslana’s “Wild Dances” will be out of luck.

More importantly, “Schweine” by the Russian pop singer Glukoza, a song everyone sings along to, is also gone. (For old time’s sake: Eins zwei drei Schicke-Schicke Schweine oh-oh).

The station is still hosted by Ruslana Lyzhychko, who will be all too happy to tell you about the need for the US to move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but has definitely lost some of its more iconic tracks.

I listened to a half hour of Vladivostok FM from before the patch, and after, and it’s just not the same.

Several GTA Forum posters, including Sniper296, shared full lists of the changes based on the american.txt files they were able to dig through, and there are a number of other casualties as well.

While Vladivostok FM got additional tracks such as “Gulyaj, Slavyane!!” and a bunch more songs by Seryoga to fill in the gaps, other stations such as Liberty Rock Radio now have holes that simply can’t be replaced.

Most notably among the casualties are The Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” and David Bowie’s irreplaceable “Fascination“. Fat Joe’s “Crackhouse” featuring Lil Wayne is also gone, although all three Kanye West tracks have slipped through into the next decade of the game’s life unscathed.

Rockstar did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Kotaku confirming all of the changes.

Unfortunately there’s no real way to escape the update. On PC some people have suggested keeping Steam in offline mode until backup files of the game can be created. Kotaku hasn’t tested this method but a few posters on GTA Forum say they have been successful with it, provided they overwrite the new files later.

If you have hard disk copies on PS3 or Xbox 360 you’ll want to keep those disconnected from the internet as well. Of course, you can always just blast your favourite tunes over Spotify or the old boombox instead rather than the in-game radio stations if you’re so inclined.


  • Remember when you could rip your favorite songs to your Xbox and then Play it through a Radio Station on GTA San Andreas… those were the days.

    • Can do that with GTA IV & GTA V on PC. A shame they never let that happen with the console versions. I like to take the talk back radio from Vice City & San Andreas & add those to the custom station, since they were good talk back radio.

  • Why time the licence? Why not just pay a lump sum? Shouldn’t this be like a film score and it just stays as it was created?

    • I thought exactly the same thing back when I first heard about this.

      I wonder if it’s game developers / publishers being cheap and only paying for a 10 year licence on the assumption that nobody will still be playing it past that point anyway. Movies tend to have a longer lifespan so maybe they negotiate their licensing deals with that in mind?

    • Film scores are often created so let for the movie, so their worth usually remains the same.
      A song on the other hand can vary in popularity during it’s lifetime so it’s value changes.
      Look at when musicians die, bowie is an example. Their sales sky rocket for a short term and during that time it’s worth more, out of the $10 bargain bin and back at $30.
      The publishers are just trying to extract maximum profit.

  • Fascination and 1979 are like the two main songs I think of when I think back on GTA 4 memories and how good the radio was.

  • Goddamn, why does Rockstar keep doing this….

    I get that if a license they have has expired, new copies of the game shouldn’t have the song, but there’s no reason to fuck over people who already bought it. They managed to do the right thing with Vice City, but then did exactly this for San Andreas.

    FWIW, you can exempt a game from auto-updating through Steam – you won’t be able to play it via the client, but you should be able to run it directly through the .exe file. That’s how I’ve kept Radio X the way it should be in GTA SA anyway.

  • Good thing I have all the old GTAs in optical form. But regretting buying 5 on Steam now. Hopefully they’ll work out a way to only patch out the tracks for new purchases before they get to doing this for 5 – I bought a license to play the game in perpetuity, so shouldn’t the music follow?

    • It’s weird, it should in theory be only new copies miss out on the music.
      The licenses ran out on Alan wake, so they stopped selling the game but if you have a previous license you can still freshly download the game off steam.

  • Not Schweine! That was the best Russian track! Argh, and 1979, there’s a track that would stop you leaving your car for its duration. RIP GTA IV radio. At least there’s always fan patches. Maybe.

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