Taylor Swift, The Weeknd & Co.: Universal Wants To Pull Songs From TikTok

Despite TikTok's more than one billion users, revenue from Chinese company ByteDance's platform accounts for just one percent of UMG's total revenue, the company said. It also accused TikTok of “bullying,” the BBC reported. That's because it wants to pay only a “fraction” of what other social media platforms charge to access a larger list.

During the negotiations, TikTok tried to “intimidate” Universal and push for a deal worth less than the previous deal, the music company explained. The stage was stripped of “selected” pieces by lesser-known Universal musicians.

Universal wants fair conditions

One-third of world music is global controls. Music companies receive royalties when their contracted songs are played on streaming and social media platforms. During the contract extension negotiations, as seen from the letter written to the musicians under contract with UMG, Universal Music pushed TikTok to pay the artists accordingly. In it, UMG accused TikTok of “creating a music-based business without paying a fair price for music”.

In addition to appropriate compensation, Universal is concerned with “protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI and online safety for TikTok users.” According to Universal, TikTok wants contractual freedom for AI-generated music on its platform.

A critique of dealing with AI

Additionally, the social media platform does not take action against plagiarism and has an inefficient process for removing problematic content such as fake pornographic images of artists. Such pictures of singer Taylor Swift were circulated only last week.

It is the first time a music company has taken such a step after announcing its music withdrawal. Universal says it will have ramifications for its own musicians as well. However, we have a responsibility to fight for fair conditions for them. Universal reached a deal with TikTok in February 2021 that allows users to include clips from UMG's music catalog in their videos.

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Tik Tok: “Sadness and Disappointment”

Universal's move could be a big blow to TikTok, as many videos on the platform are accompanied by music. In a statement posted on its homepage, TikTok said UMG's portrayal was a “false narrative” that was not in the best interest of artists, songwriters and fans. “It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put its own greed above the interests of its artists and songwriters.”

Universal has decided to drop “powerful support” of a high-profile platform that serves as a free advertising and discovery tool for its talent. TikTok has been able to reach “artist first” deals with every other label and publisher. In July last year, TikTok signed a new licensing deal with Warner Music.

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