UMG-TikTok Feud Removes Taylor Swift Songs from Viral App

UMG-TikTok Feud Removes Taylor Swift Songs from Viral App

Artists affiliated with Universal songs Group (UMG) have had their songs removed from TikTok as a result of a content licencing contract that was unsuccessful.

Taylor Swift’s songs were pulled from the famous social media platform TikTok, which is controlled by the Chinese technology company ByteDance, after the licencing agreement between UMG and ByteDance’s TikTok expired on Thursday morning (February 1).

UMG has been at the forefront of allegations of bullying and intimidation over the course of the negotiation process, which has led to a public disagreement, which has resulted from the conditions. The record label reportedly stated that the suggested payment rates for musicians and composers on TikTok are much lower than those offered by other major social platforms. This information was reported by CNBC.

During the first night of her “Eras Tour” on March 31, 2023, American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift gives a performance onstage at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

UMG, TikTok Engage in Public Spat

United Management Group (UMG) asserted that TikTok exhibited indifference and intimidation during the bargaining process, saying that the platform attempted to coerce an unfavourable financial arrangement. United Music Group (UMG) claims that the intimidation consisted of deliberately removing music from some developing artists while keeping content from global ones.

Following the expiration of the agreement, TikTok started removing audio content, according to a representative from UMG. Additionally, UMG asserted that TikTok enabled artificial intelligence-generated recordings to flood its website.

In retaliation, TikTok asserted that Universal Music Group (UMG) prioritised its own earnings over those of musicians and composers. The statement made by the social media company was reported by Fox News. “Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters, and fans,” the statement read.

The charges made by UMG were also rejected by TikTok, which referred to them as a “false narrative” and highlighted the fact that the company has successfully licencing arrangements with other large music companies.

Over the past few years, TikTok has emerged as a significant participant in the music industry, with the power to transform songs into viral sensations through the use of user-generated videos. Record labels are able to identify new music artists, market their work, and reach a wider audience with the assistance of the platform. The music industry, on the other hand, is divided over whether or not TikTok pays featured musicians an adequate amount.

In the same way that other music labels do, Universal collects money for licencing on social media. As well as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, The Rolling Stones, and Drake, the recording company is the owner of their respective musical works.

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Fair Compensation for Music Artists Sought

This new development comes as a result of difficulties encountered by ByteDance in 2022 during the process of extending its Resso music streaming facility. Resso was forced to rebrand itself as TikTok Music and get rid of its free tier as a result of Sony Music Entertainment’s decision to temporarily remove its music from the platform because of the growth. Concerns increased in the following year as a result of TikTok’s decision to restrict the song selection available to users in Australia. This was seen by record labels as a test of the value of the music on the site.

The Universal Music Group (UMG) utilised its influence to fight for increased artist pay across a variety of streaming platforms, while Warner Music Group and Sony Music were successful in securing new licencing deals with TikTok. TikTok was positioned by UMG as a significant platform comparable to YouTube, with an emphasis placed on the requirement for pricing that is equitable.

Despite the fact that TikTok makes payments to music rights holders, Universal Music Group (UMG) has stated that it only contributes 1% to the overall revenue of the company. This figure appears to be inconsistent with TikTok’s growing user population, increasing advertising revenue, and increasing reliance on content that is centred around music. The revenue that ByteDance generated in 2024 was estimated to be more than 110 billion dollars, as reported by The Irish Times.

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