UGM Pulls Songs From TikTok

February 2, 2024

The music industry is experiencing a major shakeup as the licensing agreement between Universal Music Group (UMG) and TikTok expired on Wednesday. At Antisocial, we can't help but take note of the implications of this battle between these two giants of entertainment.

Music by iconic Universal artists like Taylor Swift, Drake, Adele, Bad Bunny, BTS,  Ariana Grande, Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish has been wiped from TikTok's library. Videos featuring their music have also been muted. This move comes after UMG raised concerns about fair compensation for artists, protecting them from AI-related threats, and addressing safety issues on TikTok. UMG claims TikTok was offering a mere fraction of what other major social platforms pay artists and songwriters. 

UMG voiced concerns about TikTok's development of tools for AI-generated music, suggesting that it could dilute royalties for human artists and TikTok's approach to tackling hate speech, bigotry, bullying, and harassment. (UMG criticized TikTok for its inefficient content removal process and pushed for measures similar to other social media platforms.

Both sides have engaged in a public standoff, with UMG accusing TikTok of bullying tactics and TikTok accusing UMG of prioritizing greed over artists' interests. Industry experts believe this standoff may not be permanent but serves as a negotiation tactic.

While this dispute unfolds, independent artists may find a window of opportunity to gain visibility on TikTok. The absence of Universal's stars could shift the balance and open doors for lesser-known talents.

At this current time of publication, we’re also still seeing live performances from these artists available on TikTok and this currently only impacting their pre-recorded album tracks and clips. Our hunch is that we’ll see deeper actions taken by Universal should this issue not be resolved quickly. As of right now this shouldn’t impact artists and their fans uploading videos from major concert events this spring and summer as Taylor Swift resumes her record-breaking Eras Tour and Olivia Rodrigo embarks on her sold-out GUTS: World Tour.

TikTok's impact on the music industry cannot be underestimated. It has transformed how songs go viral and rewarded creativity beyond just musical talent. This shift has reshaped the way artists break out in the digital age.

As for us, we will continue to monitor this situation closely. The outcome of this dispute will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences for the music industry, artists, and social media platforms alike. Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving story! #MusicIndustry #TikTok #UniversalMusicGroup #Antisocial