Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

UMG to pull songs from TikTok after deal expires

By AYIE LICSI Published Jan 31, 2024 11:16 am

Music from Taylor Swift, Drake, Ariana Grande, and The Weeknd might be pulled from the TikTok app.

Universal Music Group (UMG), one of the biggest music labels, announced that it will remove its songs from TikTok when its agreement with the app expires on Jan. 31. The company failed to reach a new deal with the short-form video platform as it raised issues about artist compensation and AI.

"The companies have not agreed to terms for a new agreement upon expiration of the current agreement, Universal Music Group, including Universal Music Publishing Group, will cease licensing content to TikTok and TikTok Music services," the company said in a statement on Jan. 31 Philippine time, as per Variety.

Some artists signed with UMG include Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, The Weeknd, SZA, Alicia Keys, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Justine Bieber, Adele, Elton John, Coldplay, Post Malone, and more.

The issues

The music label also released a letter to its artists and songwriter community titled "Why we must call time out on TikTok."

According to the letter, UMG has been pressing TikTok on the appropriate compensation of its artists, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of artificial intelligence, and online safety for TikTok users.

The company added that TikTok proposed to pay artists "a fraction of the rate" other social platforms pay, accounting only about 1% of UMG's total revenue.

"Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music," UMG said.

As for AI, the label raised how the video platform's AI-generated recordings affect royalties for human artists.

TikTok has also been said to have made "little effort" to deal with content that infringes artists' music and has offered "no meaningful solutions" against hate speech, bigotry, bullying, and harassment on the app.

"The only means available to seek the removal of infringing or problematic content (such as pornographic deepfakes of artists) is through the monumentally cumbersome and inefficient process which equates to the digital equivalent of 'Whack-a-Mole,'" the label added.

Recently, one of the label's biggest artists Taylor Swift was the subject of pornographic deepfakes that spread on X (formerly Twitter). In efforts to resolve this, the Elon Musk-led platform blocked searches for the Midnights singer.

With regards to AI, TikTok is piloting a feature called "AI song" where users can create their own tunes with the software just by entering prompts.

The video platform has also been leaning towards music curation as it launched TikTok Music in 2023 in select countries. The subscription service, which aims to be the Chinese company's take on Spotify and Apple Music, includes music from major labels like UMG, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music.

To establish itself in the music industry, TikTok struck up a short-term licensing deal with the major labels in 2020. This allowed the app to use 30-second clips of any of the songs under UMG, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music.