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Universal Music Group Removes Music Catalog From TikTok After Dispute

Universal Music Group Removes Music Catalog From TikTok After Dispute

Users can no longer feature Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Billie Eilish’s music in their TikToks.

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Music is what makes a TikTok clip entertaining and interesting. Without it, users simply do not have many resources to work with to entertain others with their TikToks. 

Hence, it came as a shock for many when Universal Music Group (UMG) announced its decision to withdraw its music catalog from the social platform. 


As stated in their letter, UMG stated that the company has removed their artists’ music following their dispute with TikTok, claiming that the move was to protect their patron artists. 

TikTok, according to UMG, was not willing to compensate for the fair market value of the music. 

“With respect to the issue of artist and songwriter compensation, TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay. 

“Today, as an indication of how little TikTok compensates artists and songwriters, despite its massive and growing user base, rapidly rising advertising revenue, and increasing reliance on music-based content, TikTok accounts for only about 1% of our total revenue,” said UMG in its statement.

Universal Music Group

The music label also accused TikTok of not going the extra mile to protect their artists from AI technology and bullying. 

TikTok’s statement 

TikTok has since replied to UMG’s letter, calling the company “sad and disappointing” for putting their interests above the interests of their artists and songwriters. 

In fact, TikTok highlighted how they managed to reach their ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher, except for UMG. 

“Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters, and fans,” concluded TikTok in its statement.

But what does this mean for users? 

As such, users will no longer be able to feature the label’s artists’ music in their TikToks. This includes artists such as Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Coldplay, and Drake. 


And for those who had previously featured the artists in their TikToks, their videos will be muted from now on due to copyright restrictions. 

But not all hope is lost as users can still swap their videos’ music with new ones. TikTok indeed provides users with the option of selecting a new sound from artists that are not from UMG. 

That includes Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and music by Coolio, Green Day, and Weezer. 

What’s more, users can also look to feature works from local indie artists who are not signed with any major music labels. 

This way, Malaysian indie artists can finally have their time to shine and local users will get to be exposed to different types of music. 

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