Universal Music Group’s Dispute with TikTok Claims More Songs

TikTok is losing even more songs over its quarrel with Universal Music Group (UMG), as the social media network is starting to remove songs published by UMG, the company confirmed to TechCrunch on Tuesday. As a result, TikTok had to remove songs owned or distributed by UMG by January 31. Now, the company has to remove songs that contain compositions controlled by Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). The company says UMG and UMPG’s catalogue represents anywhere from 20-30% of popular songs on TikTok. Artists and songwriters will also be losing out on royalties earned from their music on TikTok.

The popular social media platform, TikTok, is facing more lost songs in the midst of a quarrel with Universal Music Group (UMG). On Tuesday, the company confirmed to TechCrunch that it will begin removing songs published by UMG from its platform. This comes after UMG announced last month that it was unable to reach a deal with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, over royalties. As a result, TikTok was given until January 31 to remove any songs owned or distributed by UMG. But now, the platform must also remove songs featuring compositions controlled by Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG).

According to TikTok, all songs written or co-written by a songwriter under UMPG’s umbrella must be taken down, and any videos featuring these songs will be muted. While the impacted songs will still remain on the platform, they will have no sound. This change is significant as UMG and UMPG’s catalog represents around 20-30% of popular songs on TikTok.

This means that even if a songwriter signed to UMPG contributed to a small portion of a song owned by another label, TikTok must remove it. Initially, the removal of UMG’s songs largely affected its own artists and songwriters. However, with this latest development, the impact will extend to artists signed to other labels as well.

In order to stay legally compliant and remove all content licensed by UMPG before the end of February, TikTok must start taking down the songs now. TechCrunch reached out to UMG for comment, but did not receive a response.

Last month, UMG penned an open letter to artists and songwriters accusing TikTok of trying to push them into accepting a deal that is worth less than their previous one. They also noted that revenues from the platform only make up about 1% of their total revenue.

On the same day, TikTok released its own open letter in response, calling out UMG’s actions as greedy and stating that the company was only looking out for their own interests.

The changes made by UMG may not significantly impact their revenue, but they will certainly have a negative effect on artists and songwriters. They will no longer have a platform to promote their music, especially one that has been known for driving music discovery. Additionally, they will lose out on any royalties earned from their songs on TikTok.

UMG acknowledges these consequences, but states in their letter that they have a responsibility to their artists to fight for a fair agreement where they are appropriately compensated for their work.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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