Music Rights Battle: Why TikTok Does Not Feature Some Major Artists

Music Rights TikTok

This article was last updated on February 1, 2024

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A Tussle over Music Licensing Between Universal Music Group and TikTok

The American music label Universal Music Group (UMG) has pulled its artists’ music from TikTok after licensing agreements expired, and negotiations for a new deal ended in a deadlock. This disruption is due to an ongoing disagreement over the app’s payment for these rights. UMG contends that ByteDance, the tech conglomerate that owns TikTok, is reluctant to forfeit a fair price for music rights. According to UMG, ByteDance is exerting mounting pressure to clinch a deal that is unfavorable to the music recording company.

What Does This Mean for TikTok users?

The fallout from these failed negotiations is that now, TikTok videos featuring music from artists like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Billie Eilish play without sound. TikTok users trying to use these music files are left with no option but to select a different track for their video creation. TikTok expressed disappointment at UMG for prioritizing profit over artists’ interests. They refute UMG’s allegations as entirely baseless.

Music Promotion and Discovery on TikTok: Impact of Viral Trends

TikTok has affirmed that it bears considerable importance for uncovering and promoting music artists. Over the years, several songs have gone viral through the meteors of ticks and tocks, thanks to the creative freedom and widespread reach the platform offers. Besides, music labels regularly scout new talents showcased on the platform. UMG recognizes the potential impact of pulling music from TikTok on their artists, but maintains its stand for the fight for fair terms in any potential deal.

The Way Forward: Music Rights and Fair Play

Big music labels have often voiced concerns over TikTok not paying a reasonable price for artists’ music. Still, this move by UMG to remove songs represents an extreme step, rarely seen before. Other music companies, including Warner Music Group and Sony Music, however, have managed to renegotiate licensing agreements with TikTok, adding intriguing layers to this story of music rights, social media, and fair business practices. In conclusion, the ongoing tussle between UMG and TikTok serves as a classic example of the challenges and complexities that often accompany the negotiation over music rights in the digital age.

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