Universal Music Group (UMG), representing popular artists like Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, and Drake, has announced that it will withdraw its songs from TikTok due to a failure to agree on new licensing terms.
In a statement released on Tuesday, UMG expressed its decision to discontinue licensing its content to TikTok and TikTok Music services once the current contract expires on Wednesday.
UMG addressed artists and songwriters in an open letter, accusing TikTok of attempting to build a music-based business without offering fair compensation for the music it uses.
Lack of Response
TikTok has yet to respond to UMG’s concerns regarding the matter.
The Musical Influencer
UMG highlighted that TikTok, a widely popular video-sharing platform owned by China-based Bytedance, holds significant influence in the music industry. UMG’s analysis revealed that TikTok features a majority of content incorporating music, surpassing other social networks in this aspect.
In the letter, UMG outlined three main points of contention with TikTok: artist compensation, protection against the harmful effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on human artists, and online safety for TikTok users.
Unfair Compensation Proposal
According to UMG, TikTok proposed a payment rate for their artists and songwriters that is considerably lower than what major social platforms typically offer. Additionally, TikTok’s inundation of AI-generated recordings raised concerns about the replacement of human artists with AI technology.
Indifference and Intimidation
UMG accused TikTok of indifference toward their concerns and attempting to intimidate the company into accepting an agreement that undervalued their content.
Apart from the mentioned artists, UMG also represents renowned acts such as Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Harry Styles, U2, Pearl Jam, Justin Bieber, Adele, Elton John, and Bob Dylan.
UMG’s shares, listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange (UMG, +0.95%), have experienced an 18% increase over the past 12 months.