The music industry waits with anticipation for a movement that can shake all its foundations. The company Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced that it will withdraw its entire catalog from TikTok immediately after failing to reach an agreement with the platform. This means that the main artists on the planet, such as Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny or Rosalía, will no longer be heard on TikTok.
In an open letter published in the early hours of January 31, Universal Music Group reveals that its licensing contract with the Chinese platform expires tonight and that no renewal plan has been reached. He does so after claiming to have fought for “fair compensation for artists and songwriters, protection from the harmful effects of Artificial Intelligence, and online safety for TikTok users.” The company is one of the largest in the sector, with the most important names belonging to it.
Likewise, Universal has accused TikTok of responding to them with “indifference, and then intimidation.” The platform’s success is based on the publication of short videos where “music is the heart of your experience,” says UMG. However, TikTok has proposed paying artists and songwriters “a fee that is a fraction of what other platforms pay,” representing “only 1% of their total revenue.” “TikTok is trying to build a business based on music, without paying a fair value for the music,” adds Universal.
UMG’s statement has led to a public brawl in the remaining hours of his contract still in force. In a new statement, the music application has expressed its disappointment that the company “has put its own greed before the interests of its artists and composers.” TikTok blames Universal for having promoted a “false narrative and rhetoric,” choosing to “move away from the powerful support of a platform with over a billion users that serves as a free means of promotion and discovery for its talent.”
Although they did manage to reach an agreement in 2021, everything seems to indicate that the same will not happen this time. At least, for now. Unless they reach a reconciliation in the next few hours, starting tomorrow TikTok’s song catalog will not feature Billie Eilish, Drake, ABBA, the Beatles or Adele. The consequences of this breakup remain to be seen, but one thing is certain: they will not be indifferent.