TikTok removes Universal Music songs amidst licensing dispute

TikTok while retaining the videos, has begun silencing videos featuring songs from artists associated with Universal Music Publishing Group.

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TikTok initiates removal of Universal Music Publishing Group’s (UMPG) songs due to unsuccessful license renewal negotiations. Following the expiration of their licensing agreement on January 31, TikTok while retaining the videos, has begun silencing videos featuring songs from artists associated with UMPG.

The new policy implies that TikTok will need to exclude any music where UMPG songwriters have contributed, irrespective of the main label. This expands the impact beyond UMG-associated artists, affecting others as well – if a UMPG-affiliated songwriter contributed to a song by another label, even minimally, TikTok will be obliged to remove it from their platform.

Despite UMPG’s claim of negligible impact to its revenue, the new changes will adversely impact artists and songwriters who will lose promotion opportunities as the platform is known for enabling music discovery. Artists also stand to potentially lose out on royalty earnings on the platform. UMG recognizes these consequences, but maintains its commitment to securing a new deal that justly compensates its artists.