Numerous music hits removed from TikTok


Avid TikTokers may soon no longer be able to dance to the tunes of famous artists such as Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and many more.

Universal Music Group, the record company that represents some of the biggest names in American music in particular, announced in an open letter on its website on Tuesday that it will withdraw its song catalog from TikTok on January 31.

From Wednesday, TikTokers may no longer have access to music from BTS, Black Pink, Elton John, The Beatles and even Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder on the Dancefloor”, which was recently a big hit on TikTok.

According to Universal, this decision follows after they could not reach a new license agreement with the social media platform.

The music giant further contends that appropriate compensation for artists and songwriters, the protection of human artists from the harmful effects of artificial intelligence (AI), or online safety for TikTok’s users could not be agreed upon.

According to Universal, TikTok responded with “indifference and then with intimidation” when asked for similar agreements to those the record label has with other social media platforms.

“TikTok is ultimately trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair compensation for the music,” reads the open letter.

“TikTok allows the platform to be flooded with AI-generated recordings, as well as the development of tools to enable, promote and encourage even AI music creation on the platform.”

Universal also alleges that TikTok tried to “force” a deal, which was worth less than the previous financial year’s, and “does not reflect TikTok’s exponential growth”.

TikTok responded to Universal’s claims on Tuesday night with their own statement:

“It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed ahead of the interests of their artists and songwriters,” the statement began.

“Despite Universal’s false claims and rhetoric, the fact remains that they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with over a billion users that serves as a free promotion and discovery medium for their singers’ talent.”

According to TikTok, successful agreements have been reached with numerous other record companies.

“It is clear that Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”

Additional resources: BBC, The Hollywood Reporter.