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The Student News Site of Darnell-Cookman Middle-High School

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The Student News Site of Darnell-Cookman Middle-High School

The Monitor

All Things Grad Bash
All Things Grad Bash
April 19, 2024

TikTok and Universal: What does it mean to the average person?

TikTok and UMG situation
TikTok+and+Universal%3A+What+does+it+mean+to+the+average+person%3F

On February 1st, Universal Music Group removed music from TikTok, ranging from Taylor Swift to Drake. The UMG and TikTok failed to reach an agreement on licensing music from UMG artists on the app and the sounds of those artists. The agreement failed on January 31st. It will be a few days for the process to take full effect.  Most of the music has been muted due to that situation. This had a negative and positive impact. 

The two companies had problems agreeing on new terms involving art compensation and AI. UMG accused TikTok of trying to “bully” the music company into a deal worth less than their previous agreement. Now, UMG will no longer license content to the app. “The companies have not agreed to terms for a new agreement and upon expiration of the current agreement, Universal Music Group, including Universal Music Publishing Group, will cease licensing content to TikTok and TikTok Music services,” the company said in a statement. TikTok’s main feature was to let users create videos picking out the song they desire.  

Music being removed from TikTok has a negative impact. TikTok is a platform that allows artists to spread their music to other TikTok users. During recent years, UMG and other labels have used TikTok’s algorithm to get songs to go viral. The allows users to discover new music and artists.  Muting their songs cannot allow them to be easily heard by TikTok users. Artists will have to use other social media apps to connect with fans.  

This situation can have a positive impact for independent artists. This is a chance for them to go viral and build their fan base. A well-known artist called Taylor Swift has had her popularity rise in recent years. Her Eras Tour has the power to impact local economies. Losing her music in TikTok can alter TikTok’s algorithm. A Swift fan and TikTok creator Madeleine Macrae, sees a potential positive impact. “I feel like a silver lining to this is that smaller or independent artists can have their chance to go viral,” Macrae said.  

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UMG released an open letter on January 31st. The letter is called, “An Open Letter to the Artist And Songwriter Community – Why We Must Call Time Out On TikTok”. The letter explains there are issues between UMG and TikTok that includes AI-generated recordings, online safety issues for users and higher compensation for artists and songwriters. Today, TikTok pays little compensation to its artists and songwriters, even though it’s a rapidly growing company. “With respect to the issue of artist and songwriter compensation,” the letter continues, “TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay…”. TikTok responded back in a statement in social media accusing UMG of promoting “false narratives and rhetoric” and of putting “greed above the interests of their artist and songwriter.” 

This negotiation between UMG and TikTok will probably not last forever. TikTok users find ways to adjust in the meantime. The user can use uncopyrighted music or use music from smaller artists. Pulling the music from the platform can cause popular artists to lose revenue streams. Popular artists can use alternative strategies to spread their music. 

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