Universal Music Threatens to Remove its Music Catalog from TikTok Amid Contract Dispute

Universal Music Group (UMG) is reportedly considering the removal of its extensive music catalog from TikTok as their existing contract with the popular video-sharing platform nears its end on Wednesday, January 31. This drastic decision comes in light of unsuccessful negotiations between the two parties.

UMG has accused TikTok of attempting to establish a music-centric business without providing reasonable compensation for the use of its vast music library. 

Universal Music Group

UMG voiced its concerns, stating that TikTok’s proposed payment to artists and songwriters falls significantly short of what other major social platforms in similar positions offer.

The issues raised by UMG extend beyond financial compensation. They asserts that TikTok has neglected to address crucial aspects, including fair compensation for artists and songwriters, protection against the adverse impacts of artificial intelligence, and the implementation of effective solutions to combat hatred and harassment faced by artists on the platform. Additionally, concerns have been raised about ensuring online safety for TikTok users.

If UMG proceeds with the removal of its music catalog, the repercussions will be far-reaching, impacting all music distributed and managed by the recording division. This includes the works of globally renowned artists such as Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Drake, BTS, Ariana Grande, and many more.

Quoting from a section of the open letter to artists and songwriters, UMG emphasizes TikTok’s questionable practices regarding AI-generated content. TikTok allows a flood of AI-generated recordings, with tools developed to promote and encourage the creation of AI music on the platform. 


UMG claims that TikTok then demands contractual rights to dilute this content massively, diverting copyright funds meant for human artists.

Furthermore, TikTok’s lack of effort to address music copyright violations and its inadequate response to content-related issues, including a surge in hateful speech and harassment, have fueled UMG’s dissatisfaction. 

UMG suggests that when they proposed similar steps to other platform partners to address these concerns, TikTok’s initial response was characterized by indifference, followed by threats.

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