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TikTok pulls songs off the platform

TikTok pulls songs off the platform

Universal Music Group is the recording industry that works with some of the biggest musicians today, and TikTok began the process on Thursday of removing the label’s song library from the platform after the two entities failed to agree on what UMG alleges is unfair to pay for its artists’ work. The artists that were impacted by the decision include those signed to major UMG record labels like Republic, Capitol Interscope, and more, including Lady Gaga, Bad Bunny, Drake, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, SZA, and Adele among many others.

In a letter published on Tuesday, UMG cited a licensing contract with TikTok that allows the platform to use its artists’ music, and that the social media site had a responsibility to “fairly compensate our artists and songwriters and treat the user experience with respect”  The licensing agreement expired at the beginning of February, prompting the removal of the artists’ libraries from TikTok’s general library, meaning that, as of Thursday morning, users could no longer add songs by the aforementioned artists (and more) to new TikTok posts. There were some preexisting posts using such material however; songs like Ariana Grandes’s promotion for her new single “Yes, and?”- were still on the platform. The audios are being and will continued to be muted on the platform.

TikTok proposed to pay UMG artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay. TikTok accounts for only about 1% of UMG’s total revenue. UMG said, “Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for their music.” In response TikTok labeled UMG’s statement as “sad and disappointing,” and claimed that the organization puts its “own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters” in a press statement of its own.

Taking these songs down is going to take away a lot of the fun TikTok had to offer. Do you think it was worth it?

 

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Hi, My name is Kiara Fralicker, and I am a senior in high school.

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