Universal Music Group to Pull Music From TikTok After Negotiations Fall Through

Universal Music Group, the music giant for artists such as Taylor Swift, Drake, The Weeknd, Billie Eilish, and more, is seemingly due to pull its music from TikTok.

In an open letter, Universal Music Group alleges that negotiations with TikTok have fallen through just as its agreement with the short-form video platform. Universal Music Group was working to protect its artists and negotiate for fair compensation and protection against AI. Negotiations are said to have fallen apart with TikTok trying to “bully” the company for a deal deemed less than the one in place.

“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,” Universal Music Group said. ” Today, as an indication 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.”

Universal Music Group goes into detail that TikTok is “allowing” its platform to be “flooded” by AI-generated content, including recordings. There are viable concerns here as it encourages users to take music, create AI tracks and upload it to the platform. Universal Music Group states that by doing so, it dilutes the royalty pool for human artists.

The deal between Universal Music Group and TikTok was first formed in 2021 when a global agreement was met, ensuring compensation for artists and songwriters under the label.

TikTok has since responded to Universal Music Group. As reported by Variety, the ByteDance-owned company says “It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters. Despite Universal’s false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent.
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.”

As Universal Music Group’s current deal with TikTok expires, it’s unclear whether the two parties will return to the table in the future.

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