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TikTok and UMG Resolve Dispute Bringing Top Artists Back to Platform

ByHuey Yee Ong

May 7, 2024
TikTok and UMG Resolve Dispute Bringing Top Artists Back to Platform

TikTok and UMG Resolve Dispute Bringing Top Artists Back to Platform

Artists from Universal Music Group (UMG), including prominent names like Taylor Swift, Drake, Adele, Bad Bunny, and Billie Eilish, are set to make their return to TikTok following a new licensing agreement that resolves a months-long dispute between the music conglomerate and the social media giant.

The resolution, announced on Thursday, May 2nd, will see the return of music from these artists to TikTok, which had been withheld due to disagreements over compensation, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and user safety concerns.

In January, UMG disclosed its decision to halt licensing its music to TikTok, a platform owned by ByteDance, also the owner of TikTok Music services. The primary issues cited by UMG were adequate compensation for their artists and songwriters, the mitigation of harmful effects from AI on human artists, and enhancing online safety for TikTok’s users. TikTok countered UMG’s claims by stating it had already established artist-first agreements with other labels and publishers.

Details of the New Licensing Agreement

The new agreement between TikTok and UMG promises substantial benefits for UMG’s artists, songwriters, and labels, ensuring their music’s reinstatement on the TikTok platform.

Shou Chew, TikTok’s CEO, emphasized the platform’s dedication to music as a core component of its ecosystem and assured commitment to enhancing value, discovery, and promotional opportunities for UMG’s talents. The collaboration aims to deepen their engagement with TikTok’s community.

Further details of the agreement highlight collaborative efforts:

  • New Monetization Avenues: UMG and TikTok will explore novel monetization strategies to benefit artists and songwriters.
  • Promotional Campaigns: Joint campaigns will support artists across genres and territories, enhancing their global presence.
  • AI Development and Artist Protection: The companies are committed to developing AI technology that respects and preserves human artistry while ensuring fair compensation.
  • Content Regulation: Efforts will be made to remove unauthorized AI-generated music from TikTok, bolstering protections for original content creators.
  • Enhanced Attribution: TikTok and UMG will work together to improve mechanisms for better artist and songwriter attribution on the platform.

TikTok has expressed its plans to expand investment in developing artist-centric tools, such as “Add to Music App,” which includes enhanced data analytics and integrated ticketing capabilities. Michael Nash, UMG’s Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President, expressed satisfaction with the renewed partnership, highlighting the progress in commercial and marketing prospects, along with the protective measures agreed upon for their artists on the platform.

While the deal marks a significant step forward for TikTok in its relationship with one of the largest music corporations, the future of TikTok remains in limbo. The platform faces an uncertain future in the U.S. following recent legislation signed by President Joe Biden, which mandates TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to sell to a U.S. owner within a year or cease operations.

The outcome of this legislative directive remains unclear as it may face legal challenges and it is uncertain whether ByteDance will comply with a sale.

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Featured Image courtesy of MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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