UMG warns to pull songs from TikTok as deal remains unsettled

Universal Music Group says that its agreement with TikTok is set to expire on January 31
A representational image of TikTok logo. — Unsplash/file
A representational image of TikTok logo. — Unsplash/file

Universal Music Group, one of the largest music companies in the world, said it has not secured a deal with TikTik as the latter fails to come to terms over issues surrounding artist compensation and AI.

The music company also said that TikTok tried to “bully” UMG by offering a deal worth less than they agreed to previously. Given that, Universal Music said it will no longer license content to the app. 

UMG said that its agreement with TikTok is set to expire on Jan. 31. “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. 

Read more: Rumour suggests TikTok might allow 30-minute-long videos

UMG has been encouraging for fair compensation for artists and songwriters in their negotiations for contract renewal with TikTok, as stated in a letter to their artist and songwriter community, as reported by 9to5Mac

Will songs disappear from TikTok?

If UMG does not come to an agreement with TikTok, all of its music will be taken off the platform when the current deal ends on Wednesday, according to a UMG spokesperson.

In its letter, UMG accused TikTok of "trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music." The company also stated that TikTok suggested compensating artists and songwriters at a rate that is significantly lower than what other major social platforms pay. 

In response to UMG's claims, TikTok referred to them as "false" and stated that UMG's actions were not in the best interest of artists, songwriters, and fans. UMG reported that TikTok only contributes to about 1% of its total revenue. In February 2021, the company struck a deal with TikTok, allowing users to use clips from UMG's music catalogue in their videos. 

TikTok, in another statement addressed to UMG, stated, “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."