2 Feb 2024 ///

Universal Music Group Has Pulled Its Music From TikTok

Global music corporation, Universe Musical Group, encompasses record labels, artist management and publishing; with a significant influence across the world’s music industry. The company is at loggerheads with video-format app, TikTok, accusing the app of “trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music”. 

It’s been 20 years since the release of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Murder on The Dancefloor’, but with the release of the film Saltburn; the song has gone viral across a new generation, looking to re-imagine that dance by Barry Keoghan’s character, Oliver. This ‘renaissance moment’ is just one of the many examples of the power of viral songs on TikTok. 

Over the past few years, TikTok has emerged as a formidable force in the music industry, uniquely positioned among a select few entities capable of propelling songs to viral success; record labels depend on the platform for discovering new artists and amplifying their content. TikTok asserts its role as a facilitator for artists to connect with expansive audiences, positioning itself as a crucial discovery platform for showcasing their talents; with TikTok users being noted for their ability to make songs ‘go viral’ as part of trends that occur on the app. It should be noted, though, that TikTok only allows a maximum of 60 seconds for any song added to a video, and music cannot be played outside of creating or viewing videos.

Photographed by Cottonbro Studio via Pexels

Photographed by Karolina Grabowska via Pexels

As Daily Maverick reported, “music companies have long complained that the platform doesn’t compensate artists fairly for their work. While ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) generated more than $110 billion in sales last year, revenue from TikTok accounted for only 1% of UMG’s total, the music publisher said. In 2022, labels began pushing the company to share the wealth with rights holders.”

UMG released this open letter to explain their position, while TikTok’s official statement simply reads, “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.”

This is yet another difficult situation that the music industry has had to face with the digitisation and availability of music through streaming platforms and apps alike. Usually, the artists are the ones who inevitably suffer the most. While UGM pulling Taylor Swift and The WEEKEND might be relatively inconsequential – any smaller artists emerging across their labels could miss out on a life-changing moment. 

This is a developing story.

For more news, visit the Connect Everything Collective homepage www.ceconline.co.za

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