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UMG Responds to TikTok, Calling Its Views on Artist and Writer Compensation ‘Woefully Outdated’

As works from UMG signees like Taylor Swift, BTS and Drake are being removed from TikTok due to a licensing dispute, the company fires back at the video app.

Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

With Universal Music Group’s catalog now being slowly removed from TikTok, the music company issued a new statement Thursday (Feb. 1) commenting on what it says are TikTok’s “woefully outdated” views on music licensing and compensation.

The stalemate between the world’s largest music company and the short-form video app was made public Tuesday when UMG released a strongly worded open letter to its artists and songwriters, explaining that all of their music would be removed from the platform if a licensing agreement was not reached by the following day. In the letter, UMG detailed its reasons for not being able to reach an agreement, including disagreements about compensation, artificial intelligence, infringing works on the platform, and harassment.


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TikTok replied within hours, calling UMG’s letter a “false narrative” and that it was “sad and disappointing that [UMG] has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.” It noted that TikTok acts as an important “free promotion” and “discovery” tool for their artists.

Perhaps even further away from a deal than before, the licensing agreement expired on Jan. 31, and UMG’s catalog began disappearing from TikTok.

Read UMG’s latest statement in reply to TikTok below:

“Our agreements with TikTok have expired because of TikTok’s unwillingness to appropriately compensate artists and songwriters, protect human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and address online safety issues for TikTok’s users (more on that here),” says a spokesperson of UMG.

“In fact, TikTok’s own statement perfectly sums up its woefully outdated view: Even though TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) has built one of the world’s largest and most valuable social media platforms off the backs of artists and songwriters, TikTok still argues that artists should be grateful for the “free promotion” and that music companies are “greedy” for expecting them to simply compensate artists and songwriters appropriately, and on similar levels as other social media platforms currently do.

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TikTok didn’t even attempt to address the other issues we raised regarding harmful AI and platform safety. It’s no surprise that artist rights advocates are speaking out in support of our action.”

This article was originally published by Billboard U.S.

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Drake leaves the court after the NBA In-Season Tournament game between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 17, 2023 in Toronto, Canada.
Cole Burston/Getty Images

Drake leaves the court after the NBA In-Season Tournament game between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 17, 2023 in Toronto, Canada.

Rb Hip Hop

Drake’s Toronto Mansion Appears to Be Flooded Amid Record Breaking Storm

Torrential rainfall has reportedly left over 100,000 Canadian citizens without power.

A violent storm has rumbled through the Toronto metro area and left over 100,000 citizens without power on Tuesday (July 16), per BBC.

Even Drake’s mansion was caught in the line of fire. The 6 God posted a video to his Instagram Story from his Toronto estate with at least one floor completely flooded.

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