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TikTok Removes Songs From Taylor Swift, Drake, Harry Styles and More After Universal Music Deal Termination

via Youtube
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TikTok has begun removing all music from Universal Music Group due to the expiration of their licensing agreement.

Universal Music accused TikTok of attempting to force an unfavorable deal and neglecting AI and piracy concerns, while TikTok criticized Universal’s greed.

As a result, videos with UMG music will be muted, potentially affecting the Universal Music Publishing Group catalog as well.

“It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters,” TikTok stated.

Universal emphasized fair compensation, AI protection, and online safety, claiming TikTok’s proposed rates undervalue artists.

“Our agreements with TikTok have expired because of TikTok’s unwillingness to appropriately compensate artists and songwriters, protect human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and address online safety issues for TikTok’s users,” a Universal Music spokesperson stated.

“Even though TikTok (formerly has built one of the world’s largest and most valuable social media platforms off the backs of artists and songwriters, TikTok still argues that artists should be grateful for the ‘free promotion’ and that music companies are ‘greedy’ for expecting them to simply compensate artists and songwriters appropriately, and on similar levels as other social media platforms currently do.”

TikTok “proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay,” UMG wrote. As a marker of “how little TikTok compensates artists and songwriters, despite its massive and growing user base, rapidly rising advertising revenue and increasing reliance on music-based content, TikTok accounts for only about 1% of our total revenue.”

“TikTok’s tactics are obvious: use its platform power to hurt vulnerable artists and try to intimidate us into conceding to a bad deal that undervalues music and shortchanges artists and songwriters as well as their fans,” UMG said. “We will never do that. We will always fight for our artists and songwriters and stand up for the creative and commercial value of music.”

TikTok defended its approach, citing artist-first agreements with other labels and publishers.

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