Universal Music Group Threatens To Remove Entire Catalog From TikTok In Open Letter

Universal Music Group (UMG) has shared an open letter outlining plans to remove its entire catalog of songs from TikTok after the major record label failed to reach an agreement on a new licensing deal with the social media platform.

The world’s largest record conglomerate has accused TikTok of trying to “bully” and “intimidate” them into “accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth.”

UMG writes that these intimidation tactics included “selectively removing the music of certain of our developing artists while keeping on the platform our audience-driving global stars.”

The record label’s current licensing agreement with TikTok expires today (January 31) and UMG is expected to begin removing millions of tracks from platform in the coming days.

UMG wrote that they’ve come to TikTok with three major concerns in the negotiation process–“appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users”–and went on to call TikTok’s app a “tidal wave of hate speech, bigotry, bullying and harassment.”

“TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay,” UMG’s statement reads. 

Under their current deal, TikTok payments only account for about 1% of UMG’s total revenue, the label shared. 

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company Bytedance, quickly responded with their own statement, claiming that UMG has placed “their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters” and adding that they’ve been able to reach “artist-first” agreements with other labels and publishers.

“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,” TikTok wrote.

Popular UMG artists whose music could be removed from the platform include Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Drake and Olivia Rodrigo, as well as electronic artists like Afrojack, deadmau5, DJ Snake and Marshmello.

Featured image from Unsplash.com.

Inspired by: edmmaniac.com

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