The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


UMG has falling out with TikTok due to contract diputes

 TikTok goes silent on Feb. 1 after Universal Music Group takes their music off due to not meeting a licensing agreement. UMG is one of the leading music companies, known for investing in major artists, financially or marketing-wise. Now big artists like Taylor Swift, Drake, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and BTS no longer have their music displayed on their TikTok profiles and have been removed from posted videos. 

Graphic by Nate Sullens

UMG posted an open letter on their website to TikTok further explaining their reasons for taking their music off the widely used app, one of them being the little compensation that TikTok gives to the musicians

 “Today, as an indication of how little TikTok compensates artists and songwriters, despite its massive and growing user base, rapidly rising advertising revenue, and increasing reliance on music-based content, TikTok accounts for only about 1% of our total revenue,” UMG said. UMG also mentions the AI-generated recordings that TikTok enabled and promoted through different kinds of filters on the app, which discredited the human musicians. 

  TikTok responds to UMG in the TikTok community newsroom. In the short and accusing paragraph, TikTok mentions how “sad and disappointing” UMG has put their greed against their artists and songwriters. 

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 “Despite Universal’s false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent,” TikTok said. Both companies have declined to make any more statements about the situation and TikTok still remains quiet on the app. 

  Since TikTok has become quieter, I feel like there is not much going on anymore. Sure, there is an unlimited amount of content on the app but due to the sudden halt of music, it doesn’t feel the same anymore. It feels very still, not as many trends are happening and it has become repetitive, more than it already was. 

 In better news, more underground artists might actually have a chance in being heard. Lots of the music on TikTok was hoarded by radio pop and big names, leaving little room for people to explore and experiment with their audience. With the chance that more indie artists could have a boosted platform, hopefully the industry sees some new faces in music. 

Creators on TikTok have started to become more creative when it comes to making edits or any new dance trend, using instrumentals that were once the original music when the app was first starting out in 2016. Artists that are affiliated with Sony or Warner are still available on TikTok, so it’s not completely silent yet. Many artists who were a part of the UMG purge are upset by the end results, since they won’t be able to promote their music on the biggest platform. Many users have already switched over to Instagram reels, which is really just another form of TikTok. 

With UMG being in a tight spot with TikTok now, this doesn’t really stop artists from singing their own songs, but then those songs can be used as sounds, therefore nobody is getting paid. UMG will have to deal with lots of copyright issues due to “unofficial” versions being used by other users. Hopefully the war between the two will come to an end soon and artists can be paid and TikTok can become alive again. For now, at least we have the Glee covers!


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Riley King, Reporter

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