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Universal Music Pulling Songs from TikTok

Interesting news hit the music scene today as Universal Music Group (UMG) announced that it’s pulling its massive catalog from TikTok starting, January 31. What does this mean for indie musicians like us who rely on platforms like TikTok for exposure and discovery? Let’s break it down.

UMG, home to millions of tracks and songs, couldn’t reach a new licensing agreement with TikTok, so they decided to pull the plug. According to sources close to the negotiations, talks broke down over a few key issues:

  1. Compensation: UMG wanted fair pay for its artists and songwriters. TikTok offered a fraction of what other social platforms pay.

  2. AI and Artist Safety: UMG raised concerns about TikTok's use of AI-generated music and its impact on human artists. They argued that TikTok should prioritize protecting artists and ensuring online safety.

  3. Licensing Model: TikTok sees itself differently from traditional music streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. They believe they shouldn't be tied to the same licensing agreements.

TikTok fired back, accusing UMG of prioritizing greed over artists' interests. They argued that TikTok serves as a vital promotional tool for artists, reaching over a billion users worldwide. TikTok also defended its stance on compensation and its use of AI, claiming that they're not a music streaming platform and shouldn't be treated as one.

So, what's the bottom line for indie musicians?

Right now it does not affect indie artists at all unless you are using Universal music in your own promo to catch more eyeballs. Really you want to be using your own music in all of your promo so that you can catch all of that micro sync.

Universal is greedy, they are the ones behind the artist centric movement where indie artists will not get paid on any streams under 1000 plays annually so that that money will go into the larger pot which goes to Universal artists. But on the other hand it is good that some American labels and companies are standing up to TikTok and not letting them run roughshod all over the music industry. TikTok's end game is to be label, streaming service, and social media all wrapped in one, locking out all of the other companies in the space. So it is good to see a company holding TT's feet to the fire.

We shall see if TT will capitulate to Universal's demands. The music industry is always evolving, and as indie artists, we must adapt and make the most of every opportunity that comes our way. This fight is happening at a level that is above where most indie musicians are fighting, but the trickle down effects will need to be actively watched and mangaged.

We will keep you updated.

1 Comment

Interesting to see what comes of this.

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