TikTok Calls Out Universal’s ‘Greed’ As Reason For Dispute After Label “Pulls” Taylor Swift, Others Music From Platform

TikTok users have been left without sound in their videos after many songs were removed from the app. This results from a dispute between Universal Music Group and TikTok, with Universal accusing the app of failing to pay enough for music rights. The fallout has affected many of the world’s biggest stars, including Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Adele, who have been vital to TikTok trends. The previous licensing deal between the two companies expired on Wednesday, and both parties failed to reach a new agreement. Consequently, videos using these songs will now be silent, with a warning indicating that the audio has been removed. TikTok appears unfazed by Universal’s threat to remove music by artists such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Harry Styles, and BTS from the platform. However, in a statement issued on Wednesday, TikTok called out UMG for prioritizing their greed over the interests of their artists and songwriters.

Olivia Rodrigo, Drake, Bad Bunny, SZA, Adele, Billie Eilish, Blackpink, J. Cole, Demi Lovato and Kendrick Lamar are other artists that UMG represents.

The statement by TikTok read,

“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.”

“TikTok has been able to reach ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher,”

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

Universal Music Group recently published an open letter to the artist and songwriter community detailing that calling time out on TikTok is necessary. The music label has stated that the current music licensing agreement with TikTok is set to expire on January 31. Universal alleges that TikTok has proposed paying artists and songwriters at a rate significantly lower than other major social platforms. Despite ongoing negotiations, the companies have not been able to agree on new terms for a licensing agreement. As a result, Universal Music Group, including Universal Music Publishing Group, will cease licensing content to TikTok and TikTok Music services.

Universal further claims that TikTok used bullying and intimidating tactics in their negotiations. TikTok allegedly attempted to force Universal to accept a deal that did not reflect the company’s exponential growth and was far below fair market value. Additionally, Universal alleges that TikTok selectively removed the music of certain developers and artists to intimidate the company.

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