Taylor Swift Resumes Sharing Music on TikTok, Defying Ongoing UMG Dispute

After 10 weeks of being absent from the platform, Taylor Swift’s music has returned to TikTok — or at least her more recent songs and “Taylor’s Version” cuts, since she owns those masters. Taylor Swift’s music, and music from all artists signed to Universal Music Group, was pulled from TikTok when the two parties were unable to come to a renewed licensing agreement. UMG framed its refusal to come to a deal with TikTok as a means of standing up for emerging artists. By selectively removing the music of certain of our developing artists, while keeping on the platform our audience-driving global stars,” UMG wrote. Her “Taylor’s Version” recordings are back on TikTok, but songs from records like “Reputation,” which doesn’t yet have a “Taylor’s Version,” are still absent from the platform.

After an extended absence, the melodies of Taylor Swift have once again graced the airwaves of TikTok. But before all rejoiced, it was discovered that only her recent songs and the “Taylor’s Version” versions were available – a result of her ownership of the masters.

It seems that the absence was the result of a licensing disagreement between TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG), which resulted in all UMG artists being removed from the platform. In retaliation, UMG released a scathing press release accusing TikTok of attempting to “bully” the label into accepting a new agreement that was worth less than their previous one. UMG made it clear that their refusal to comply was their way of standing up for emerging artists.

“How did [TikTok] try to intimidate us? By selectively removing the music of certain of our developing artists, while keeping on the platform our audience-driving global stars,” UMG stated.

“TikTok’s tactics are obvious: use its platform power to hurt vulnerable artists and try to intimidate us into conceding to a bad deal that undervalues music and shortchanges artists and songwriters as well as their fans.”

Despite being home to other major artists like Billie Eilish, BTS, Ariana Grande, and Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift holds a unique position in this situation. After her own contract disputes, she has been re-recording her old albums in order to regain ownership of her songs. As a result, her “Taylor’s Version” recordings are once again available on TikTok. However, songs from albums such as “Reputation” – which does not yet have a “Taylor’s Version” – are still absent from the platform.

Interestingly enough, the timing of Swift’s return to TikTok aligns perfectly with the release of her highly anticipated album, “The Tortured Poets Department.” Even for someone as big as Taylor Swift, social media marketing is crucial. Without the ability for fans to create TikToks using her new album’s tracks, it could potentially limit its widespread popularity. This partnership ultimately benefits both parties involved. With a massive fanbase like Swift’s, it’s inevitable that countless audio trends will emerge from the album. TikTok would not want to miss out on this level of engagement, particularly since other platforms like Reels already have access to the music.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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