Confirmed: Universal Music Group’s music will be removed by TikTok in the coming days

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Universal Music Group‘s catalog WILL be removed by TikTok from its service in the coming days starting tomorrow (January 31).

MBW has confirmed that fact via sources close to the digital service, following the news from earlier today that licensing talks between the two parties recently broke down.

Universal announced a few hours ago that its current licensing agreement with TikTok expires tomorrow (January 31).

As a result, its full catalog – including around 3 million recorded music tracks, and around 4 million songs whose publishing is represented by UMG – will no longer be legally cleared for use on TikTok.

UMG says that its attempts to negotiate a new license with TikTok collapsed after it pressed the ByteDance-owned service on “three critical issues”, including “appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users”.

In an official statement in response to UMG’s announcement, TikTok has said: “It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.

“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 has been able to reach ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher. Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”

MBW understands from a source close to TikTok that the platform has argued behind the scenes that it is not a music streaming platform “and should not be licensed as such”.

ByteDance is understood to have argued that because its users cannot – as yet – play full songs on the main TikTok platform, it should not be tied to music rights licensing agreements that are structured in the same way as, for example, UMG’s deals with Spotify or Apple Music.

In an open letter issued earlier today, Universal Music Group claimed that “with respect to the issue of artist and songwriter compensation, TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay”.

On the issue of AI, UMG said: “TikTok is allowing the platform to be flooded with AI-generated recordings — as well as developing tools to enable, promote and encourage AI music creation on the platform itself – and then demanding a contractual right which would allow this content to massively dilute the royalty pool for human artists, in a move that is nothing short of sponsoring artist replacement by AI”.

Multi-award-winning producer and artist Metro Boomin today responded to a tweet which says – itself posted in reaction to the UMG news – that “just like that the TikTok era of music is over”.

Metro Boomin, real name Leland Wayne, quote-tweeted said words with a gif that reads: “It’s about damn time.”Music Business Worldwide