Universal Music Group Mutes Songs on TikTok Amid Licensing Dispute

Music licensing negotiations between Universal Media Group (UMG) and the social media giant TikTok have been met with a dramatic turn of events. UMG pulled its entire library of music, which includes internationally acclaimed artists such as Drake and Taylor Swift, from TikTok amidst alleged unsatisfactory payment offers and AI-generated music concerns which it says dilutes royalties for real musicians.

Photo from CNN

TikTok has confirmed the removal, which results in its users having no access to UMG’s music for its popular short-form videos. Users have taken notice of this, as popular videos have been slapped with copyright restriction notices and muted as a result.

All this is the result of a year-long skirmish over fair compensation, AI concerns, and user privacy safety on the social media platform. As the industry bogs down over this unprecedented move by UMG, artists and executives have weighed in on its effects.

Photo from CNBC

Both TikTok and musicians (especially those just starting their careers) have a symbiotic relationship. While TikTok’s content is a heavily diverse set of niches, it is apparent that the use of music is something the majority of the videos in the site thrive on, with a trending sound being used by multiple content creators in order to get more views. On the other hand, because of TikTok’s algorithm, it is also a great platform for artists to get more traction for their songs.

In 2020, the start of the peak of TikTok because of the pandemic, we were able to get the biggest hits of new artists at the time like Doja Cat because of dances and challenges popularized by users. The relationship between the site and artists have always been mutually beneficial in the eyes of the public. This now becomes a blur because of the recurring issue.

Photo from Tiktok Inspires on Youtube

As TikTok has been known to be one of the best platforms for musicians to promote their music, questions have been asked concerning how artists are going to reshape their marketing strategies. This is currently the center of discourse throughout the whole process, and those who keep a close eye on the occurrences in pop culture await the impacts that this decision will have both on TikTok, and rising artists who rely heavily on the sensationalism that is relatively easily given in the platform.

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