Universal Music Group to Pull All Music from TikTok, Sends Blistering Open Letter | lovebscott.com

Universal Music Group to Pull All Music from TikTok, Sends Blistering Open Letter

Songs by Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Drake and other artists will be unavailable on TikTok starting Wednesday amid a dispute between Universal Music Group and the app.

via THR:

In a dramatic move, Universal Music Group says that it will pull its song catalog from TikTok Jan. 31 after failing to come to terms on a new licensing deal with the fast-growing social video platform.

The music label announced the move in a blistering open letter to artists and songwriters titled “Why we must call time out on TikTok.”

“In our contract renewal discussions, we have been pressing them on three critical issues—appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users,” the open letter stated.

“TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay,” it continued, adding that TikTok currently only accounts for about 1 percent of UMG revenue. “Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music.”

As it relates to artificial intelligence, UMG argues that “TikTok is allowing the platform to be flooded with AI-generated recordings—as well as developing tools to enable, promote and encourage AI music creation on the platform itself – and then demanding a contractual right which would allow this content to massively dilute the royalty pool for human artists, in a move that is nothing short of sponsoring artist replacement by AI.”

The decision, which comes just days before the 2024 Grammy Awards, will be felt by users, who will find themselves unable to use songs from top-tier talent in their TikTok videos, and who may find music removed from older videos.

“We recognize the challenges that TikTok’s actions will cause, and do not underestimate what this will mean to our artists and their fans who, unfortunately, will be among those subjected to the near-term consequences of TikTok’s unwillingness to strike anything close to a market-rate deal and meaningfully address its obligations as a social platform,” the letter concludes.


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