Universal Music considers to withdraw its songs from TikTok amidst a dispute over payment negotiations

The largest record label group, Universal Music, has released a strongly worded open letter titled “Why We Must Call Time Out On TikTok.” In response, the social media platform has retaliated, criticizing what it terms a “false narrative and rhetoric.”

Universal shared a scathing open letter online titled “Why We Must Call Time Out On TikTok. ” It outlined “three critical issues” it pressed on: payment for artists and songwriters, protection from the “harmful effects” of AI, and online safety. This communication comes ahead of the expiration of its current contract which expires on 31 January.

taylor swift is under universal music label and tiktok
Image source Deposit photos

In addition, in response to requests from the world’s largest music label group, the video-hosting site initially displayed “indifference with intimidation”, the open letter said, and “attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal” by excluding the music of emerging artists while retaining that of “audience-driving” global stars.

Universal accused TikTok of attempting to establish a music-centric business model without adequately compensating for the music’s fair value. Additionally, it alleged that TikTok was effectively endorsing the replacement of artists with artificial intelligence (AI) by permitting the platform to be inundated with AI-generated recordings.

According to the letter, it recommended compensating artists and composers “a fraction” of what other similar social media sites pay for access to its catalogue.

TikTok countered by stating that Universal was presenting a “false narrative and rhetoric.”

In response, TikTok has accused Universal of propagating a “false narrative and rhetoric” and prioritizing “greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters” by opting to disengage from a platform with “well over a billion users” that serves as a free promotional and discovery tool for their talent.

The social media site added in a statement, “TikTok has successfully reached ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher. It shows that Universal Music’s self-serving actions do not align with the best interests of artists, songwriters, and fans.”

Universal Music holds the rights to some of the most prominent artists globally, including Coldplay, Bob Dylan, Adele, and Billie Eilish.

coldplay is under universal music label. music played on tiktok

Previously, the music company had struck a deal with TikTok in February 2021, enabling app users to incorporate clips from its extensive music catalogue into their videos.

Although TikTok boasts over 1 billion users, it contributes just 1% of Universal’s total revenue, according to the label.

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