TikTok has removed music from videos featuring artists such as Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, and The Weeknd, due to a dispute with Universal Music Group (UMG), its record company. The licensing arrangement between the label and TikTok ended on Wednesday, and attempts to negotiate a new agreement failed.
According to UMG, TikTok requested payment for song access at a significantly lower rate compared to other social media platforms. TikTok countered, accusing UMG of presenting a “false narrative and rhetoric.”
As a result of the dispute, all videos featuring UMG music will now be muted, and the tracks will no longer be available for use in newly created videos. This has affected a range of artists, including Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, and Billie Eilish, with only a few exceptions for tracks on different labels.
Even popular tracks like Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder on the Dancefloor” and Billie Eilish’s songs, except one, have been removed. Users can still use unofficial versions of songs that have been altered, such as sped up or slowed down versions.
This move by TikTok has implications for artists who rely on the platform for promotion and engagement. For example, Noah Kahan, whose hit song “Stick Season” gained popularity on TikTok, expressed his frustration in a video, mentioning that he could no longer promote his new song on the platform.
The dispute highlights the ongoing challenges and negotiations between tech platforms and record labels over licensing agreements, as well as the impact on artists and their ability to share their music with a global audience.