Universal Music Group (UMG) announced on Wednesday that it’s removing songs from TikTok. Its catalog includes Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Drake and many more. UMG’s contract with TikTok expires on January 31, 2024. 

Issues addressed by UMG

In an open letter, UMG, one of the world’s biggest music company, says it will pulls its catalog from the ByteDance-owned company TikTok due to the failure of negotiations regarding artist compensation, safety against artificial intelligence, music infringement and overall user safety on the platform. 

UMG presented its solutions and initiatives to address these issues on TikTok as it has done with its other partners. However, according to the company, the social media giant “responded first with indifference, and then with intimidation.”

“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 statement reads. 

“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 continues. 

TikTok’s response

TikTok released a statement in response to Universal Music Group’s claims. 

According to TikTok, “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,” the statement concludes. 

Future of content creation on the platform

Music is a powerful tool on the platform. Trends and viral videos have become more popular because of the songs used. Removing a huge portion of the music on TikTok is a huge blow to creators, as their content will no longer have the audio. TikTok has signed new deals with Warner Music Group and Sony Music, so as of the moment, creators are limited to use the songs from those labels.

Unfortunately, this also means that TikTok will have to scrub the platform of videos containing songs in the UMG catalog. Considering how big and popular UMG’s catalog is, there will be a lot of videos being muted from the platform. The whole situation is a loss for creators, and we hope that TikTok and UMG can come to a conclusion soon that is in the benefit of both UMG’s artists and TikTok’s creators.