Universal Music Group (UMG) Removes Music From TikTok in Licensing Dispute

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Universal Music Group (UMG), one of the world’s largest music companies, has removed its music from the popular social media platform TikTok following a licensing dispute.

The move came just before the expiration of UMG’s licensing contract with TikTok. UMG accused TikTok of unfair compensation practices and criticized the platform for allowing AI-generated music that negatively impacted the earnings of real musicians.

TikTok responded with a strong statement, accusing UMG of prioritizing its own interests over those of its artists and songwriters. The platform highlighted its role in promoting and discovering UMG talent and expressed disappointment in UMG’s decision to walk away from a platform with over a billion users.

The fallout was immediate, with UMG music disappearing from TikTok’s library and existing videos featuring UMG tracks having their audio silenced. Users faced difficulties adding Universal songs to their videos, and official profiles of UMG artists saw their music options reduced.

The impact of the dispute is being felt in the Nigerian TikTok community, where the platform has played a significant role in promoting music, especially for emerging and established artists.

The standoff between UMG and TikTok has raised questions about the future of music licensing on social media platforms and the potential impact on artists and users.

Representatives from UMG and TikTok have not disclosed details of their negotiations or the reasons behind the music removal.

The situation underscores the complexities of licensing agreements in the digital era and the challenges faced by platforms and music rights holders in finding mutually beneficial arrangements.

February 2, 2024

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