UMG to Remove Its Music From TikTok

UMG to Remove Its Music From TikTok

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: January 31, 2024

Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced its decision to remove its entire music catalog from TikTok, as negotiations between the two giants reach an impasse.

In a statement released by UMG on Tuesday, the company accused TikTok of attempting to build a music-based business without adequately compensating artists and songwriters for their work.

"With respect to the issue of artist and songwriter compensation, TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay," the company wrote in an open letter.

Source: UMG

Additionally, UMG accused the video streaming platform of developing tools that "enable, promote and encourage AI music creation on the platform itself," then "demanding a contractual right which would allow this content to massively dilute the royalty pool for human artists."

The music giant also revealed that TikTok demonstrated indifference towards its concerns and attempted to intimidate the company into accepting unfavorable terms throughout the negotiation process.

"As our negotiations continued, TikTok attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth," the letter detailed. 

"How did it try to intimidate us? By selectively removing the music of certain of our developing artists, while keeping on the platform our audience-driving global stars."

The Impact of UMG's Exodus from TikTok

If the music corporation proceeds with its decision to remove its catalog from TikTok next week, the impact would extend to all music and songs distributed and administered by its recorded-music division, as well as Universal Music Publishing Group.

Some of the popular artists under UMG's umbrella that will most likely be included in the exodus from TikTok are Taylor Swift, BTS, Drake, Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish.

Source: Universal Music Publishing Group

In response to UMG's announcement, TikTok issued a statement expressing disappointment with the decision.

"It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters," TikTok told Billboard.

The ByteDance-owned company stated that UMG's decision will only put its artists at a disadvantage, as they will lose access to TikTok, which serves as a valuable promotional and discovery vehicle for artists with well over a billion users worldwide.

"TikTok has been able to reach ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher. Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans," TikTok fired back.

Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang

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