Payment problems in the entertainment world are not uncommon but they are more times than less, the spark of a big controversy. The latest one on the block is one concerning the TikTokers. Universal Music, the powerhouse behind Taylor Swift, Drake, and more mega artists, is set to pull its extensive song catalog from TikTok.
The breakdown in payment negotiations has prompted this dramatic exit, leaving the popular social media platform scrambling for alternatives. If not solved quickly, this disagreement might cause a glitch in the next transitioning trend.
Universal’s Stand: No Fair Compensation
In an “open letter to the artist and songwriter community,” Universal, holding a third of the world’s music, shared. TikTok was attempting to build a music-centric business without offering fair compensation for the musical content it features. Universal emphasized its commitment to “appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters.” And expressed concerns about” protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI and online safety for TikTok’s users.”
TikTok, in response, accused Universal Music of prioritizing greed over artists’ interests. Despite Universal’s allegations, TikTok highlighted its role as a “free promotional and discovery vehicle” for artists. The platform expressed disappointment in Universal’s decision. The statement further stated, “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 Faces Silence From Taylor Swift And Co.
Universal accused TikTok of “bullying” tactics, alleging the platform sought to pay a “fraction” of the standard rate for access to its vast musical treasure trove. The move implies that TikTok users will no longer get to groove to the tunes of major artists, impacting the likes of Taylor Swift, the Weeknd, and Drake.
This marks the first instance of Universal Music severing ties with a major technology platform. It is a significant move given its dominant position in the global recorded music industry. The label holds rights to legendary artists spanning from the Beatles to contemporary sensations like BTS, BlackPink and Adele’s music catalog.
Upon the contract’s expiration on January 31, the music company announced that it will no longer be licensing its tunes to TikTok.
The contract shift between Universal Music and TikTok adds to the many ongoing battles over fair compensation in this streaming era of the music industry.
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