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Universal Music Group to pull entire catalog from TikTok

Some of Universal's top talent includes Taylor Swift, Drake, Bad Bunny and Billie Eilish.
Universal Music Group to pull entire catalog from TikTok
Posted at 11:49 AM, Jan 31, 2024

Universal Music Group says it will pull its entire catalog of music from TikTok after failing to reach a deal with the platform.

Some of Universal's top talent includes artists like Taylor Swift, Drake, Bad Bunny and Billie Eilish, whose music is part of the 78,000 albums included on TikTok. 

The news comes as Universal's contract with TikTok is set to expire on Jan. 31. Because an agreement with the platform could not be reached, the music group said it will pull all of its songs after that date.

"In our contract renewal discussions, we have been pressing [TikTok] on three critical issues — appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok's users," Universal said in an open letter.

In terms of compensation, Universal accused TikTok of offering artists and songwriters a fraction of what other similarly situated social media platforms do. The music group said despite TikTok's user base and rapidly rising advertising revenue, TikTok only accounts for about 1% of Universal's total revenue.

"Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music," the company said.

But TikTok fired back with a statement of its own, accusing Universal of acting greedily.

"It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters," TikTok said.

"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," said TikTok.

The platform said it has been successful in reaching "'artist-first' agreements with every other label and publisher, adding, "clearly, Universal's self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans."

In its initial statement, Universal also said TikTok attempted to "bully" the company into accepting a deal.

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