The music video social network has not expanded its agreement with the Universal record company, removing the company’s music from its catalog.
TikTok has stopped offering music by artists such as Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny or The Beatles in its sound catalog due to a breakdown of agreements with the Universal Music Group (UMG) record company. The songs have not been available since last Thursday, February 1.
The previous agreement between the record company and the social network ended on January 31 and the sides have not agreed in the negotiations, causing the audios of the first one to be removed from the catalog and the videos already published have been silenced to avoid copyright problems.
The lack of agreement is due to an economic issue. TikTok did not seem willing to pay the billions annually that other companies pay Universal Music in royalties, including Meta, Apple or Spotify, and hoped that Universal would lower the fee to the point of paying less money than it was paying until now.
Following the breakdown of talks, Universal on Tuesday accused TikTok of “trying to build a business based on music, without paying a fair value for it.” Besides that, the music company has added that “among the issues raised in the negotiations were adequate compensation for artists and songwriters, online safety for users, and protecting artists from the harms of artificial intelligence (AI)“.
Universal’s repertoire is immense and includes musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, U2 and Bob Dylan. It should be noted that despite its large user base, TikTok only represents about 1% of Universal‘s total revenue, the record company said.
For its part, ByteDance, owner of TikTok, does not seem to agree with Universal’s statements, and assures that the record company has “put its own greed before the interests of artists and composers” by deciding to “move away from the powerful support of a platform with more than one billion users that serves as a free vehicle for the promotion and discovery of your talent”.
TikTok also called this disagreement “sad and disappointing.” However, the platform has not sought a quick solution to please users who, since last Thursday, will not be able to use music from artists like Drake or The Weekend.
Surely the platforms should meet again and reach a new agreement with advantages for both sides but, above all, for the artists and users who enjoy their music. At the moment, songs signed by Universal will be prohibited on the social network.
CREDITS: Text by Gabriel Sánchez