Following negotiations between Universal Music Group and TikTok, the pair have failed to reach an agreement regarding usage rights and Universal have stated they will withdraw all their music from the app as of the 1st of February 2024.
Universal controls about a third of the world’s music, including many of the world’s biggest artists such as Drake, Taylor Swift Justin Bieber and Lana Del Rey. This could therefore have a huge impact on the platform, considering the increasingly important role music plays in the app.[Image Creds: BBC News]
Universal have announced their decision to be based on the sentiment that TikTok were offering unfair compensation for its artists. They have gone as far as to claim that TikTok had attempted to bully them into accepting an unsatisfactory deal. In an open letter to the artist and songwriter community, Universal claimed that ‘ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music’. Universal also expressed concern over ‘protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users’.
TikTok, on the other hand, have responded by stating that Universal have turned away from a ‘free promotional and discovery vehicle’ for their artists. They also stated that Universal have ‘put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters’.
It is understandable that TikTok would see themselves as being of great value to record labels such as Universal as their reports have shown that 75 % of their users discover new artists via the app. In the past few years, the platform has played an important role in sparking the music careers of big names such as Noah Khan, Olivia Rodrigo and Nessa Barrett. Already established artists are even beginning to create music that will align with in app trends to help boost their careers and stay relevant with the younger generation.[Image Creds: Billboard]
This situation will therefore have a large impact for both sides. TikTok users will no longer be able to use the music of many of the world’s biggest artists. On the other hand, Universal’s artists will miss out on large scale promotion from the app that now boasts over a billion users worldwide.
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