Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, other artists' music pulled off from TikTok

Videos made with aforementioned artists' songs will be muted and songs won't be available for new videos
An undated representational image of TikTok logo. — Unsplash
An undated representational image of TikTok logo. — Unsplash

TikTok has pulled off music by popular artists such as Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and Olivia Rodrigo from the platform in response to a disagreement with their record label, Universal Music Group (UMG).

The removal has come a day after TikTok and UMG failed to come to terms and secure a licensing agreement after the license expired on Wednesday. The music company said TikTok wants to pay a "fraction" of what other social media sites pay to grant access to its songs. Meanwhile, TikTok accused UMG of presenting a "false narrative and rhetoric".

With this development, videos made with the songs above mentioned artists will be muted and the titles won't be available for new videos.

Read more: UMG warns to pull songs from TikTok as deal remains unsettled

Furthermore, several other musicians like Ariana Grande and Katy Perry have experienced the majority of their music being removed from their official pages, with only a few exceptions. Similarly, Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" and Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "Murder on the Dancefloor" have also been taken down.

Nevertheless, unofficial, sped-up, and slowed-down versions of these songs are still accessible, according to BBC.

Why has TikTok removed some songs?

Music companies and artists receive royalty payments when their songs are played on streaming and social media platforms. On TikTok, these songs are used as background music for the videos uploaded to the site. However, there has been ongoing concern about the minimal compensation provided by these platforms, leading to a significant and public dispute in this case.

Expressing concerns about fair compensation for AI-generated songs that mimic real artists, UMG stated in an open letter published on January 30th that "ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music".

"By throwing an additional licensing payment for AI-generated music into the mix, it could potentially decrease any ad revenue share left after TikTok's cut and rights holders are paid," he added.

TikTok responded: "It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.

"Despite Universal's false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent," it added.