TikTok Faces Music Muting Crisis Amid Royalty Dispute

TikTok Faces Music Muting Crisis Amid Royalty Dispute

TikTok has initiated the removal of additional music content from its platform amidst an ongoing dispute over royalties with Universal Music Group (UMG), extending beyond artists to include songwriters.

Initially, the app muted songs by artists under UMG, but it now faces the necessity of muting content associated with writers affiliated with the label. This action could affect videos featuring music by renowned artists like Harry Styles and Adele, who have collaborated with Universal-signed songwriters, potentially resulting in the loss of up to 30% of what TikTok deems “popular songs.”

However, industry estimates suggest that the scope of muted music could be far more extensive, potentially encompassing up to 80% of all music on the platform. This arises from the complexities of “split copyrights,” wherein even minor contributions by songwriters under Universal’s publishing arm could lead to the removal of entire recordings, spanning across labels and independents alike.

The friction between TikTok and Universal escalated earlier this year when the label allowed its music licence with the platform to expire, following unsuccessful negotiations regarding compensation for artists. Consequently, TikTok removed Universal’s recording catalogue, comprising approximately three million songs, in early February.

With the imminent expiration of the publishing catalogue deal by the end of the week, an additional four million songs are poised for removal from the platform. Universal has criticised TikTok’s payment model, alleging that the platform seeks to underpay artists compared to other digital platforms.

UMG asserts that despite TikTok’s extensive user base exceeding one billion, the platform contributes a mere 1% to their total revenue. In response, TikTok rebuffed Universal’s claims, denouncing them as “false narrative and rhetoric.”

Music holds significant sway on TikTok, serving as a cornerstone for content creation and artist promotion. The platform has also emerged as a pivotal tool for artists to amplify their presence and showcase their music, as evident in the creation of the TikTok Billboard top 50 chart in the United States, which gauges user engagement with music content on the platform.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *