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TikTok vs. UMG Royalty Dispute: Music Co-Written by UMG Artists Removed

UMG expressed concern about TikTok being flooded with artificial intelligence (AI) generated recordings.

TikTok is in the process of removing all songs written or co-written by Universal Music Group (UMG) artists, the company said in a recent blog post. This comes a month after UMG published its open letter, saying that its licensing deal with TikTok expired and that the platform was proposing to pay its artists "at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay." UMG claimed that TikTok paid its artists and songwriters so little that it only accounted for 1% of the company's revenue. "Because other platforms in the social video category achieved much greater monetization, we're focused on accelerating our partnerships with YouTube, Meta, Snap, and others," Boyd Muir, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of UMG, said in the company's earnings call for the fourth quarter of 2023, held on February 28. Given that the contract did not renew, the music of UMG recording artists, like Taylor Swift, BTS, and Drake, started being removed from TikTok in the first week of February. According to a report by Rolling Stone, TikTok will also be taking down the music of artists that publish their music through UMG, such as Harry Styles and SZA, to name a few. UMG has notably refrained from commenting on the status of its discussions with TikTok on the license deal, which makes it unclear whether these artists and their music will find their way back on TikTok anytime soon. Impact of taking music off TikTok: UMG said that…

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