Universal Music Group, representing artists including Taylor SwiftDrake, Adele, Bad Bunny and Billie Eilish said the company will no longer allow their music to appear on TikTok because the licensing agreement between the two parties has expired.
UMG said it has not yet agreed to the terms of the new agreement with TikTok and plans to stop licensing content to artists it represents on ByteDance’s social media platform and TikTok music service.
The licensing agreement between UMG and TikTok expired on Wednesday.
In a letter to artists and songwriters on Tuesday, UMG said it has been pressing TikTok on three issues: “Providing appropriate compensation to our artists and songwriters and protecting human artists from the harmful effects of artificial intelligence.” , and the online safety of TikTok users.”
The fees TikTok proposes to pay its artists and songwriters are a fraction of what other major social platforms pay, UMG said, adding that TikTok only accounts for about 1% of its total revenue.
“Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a business based on music without paying fair value for the music,” UMG said.
TikTok refuted UMG’s accusations, saying it has “artist first” agreements with all other labels and publishers.
“It’s clear that Universal’s selfish actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans,” TikTok said.
However, Universal Music also said that new technologies pose potential threats to artists and said that TikTok is developing tools to support, promote and encourage artificial intelligence music creation. UMG accuses the platform of “demanding contractual rights that allow such content to massively dilute the royalty pool” for human artists, a move that is tantamount to sponsoring artificial intelligence to replace artists. “
UMG has also raised questions about what it calls TikTok security issues. UMG is not satisfied with TikTok’s efforts to address hate speech, bigotry, bullying and harassment. It said removing disturbing content from TikTok was “extremely cumbersome”. The process is inefficient and is equivalent to a digital version of “whack-a-mole.”
UMG said it recommended TikTok take similar measures to some other social media platform partners, but was met with initial indifference and then intimidation.
“As our negotiations continued, TikTok attempted to coerce us into accepting a deal that was worth less than the previous deal, was well below fair market value, and did not reflect its exponential growth,” UMG said. “How did it try to intimidate us? Selectively removing music from certain developing artists while keeping the global stars we attract audiences to on the platform.”
However, TikTok said Universal Music “puts its own greed ahead of the interests of artists and songwriters.”