London, UNITED KINGDOM – The popular video sharing app TikTok is facing a major setback as it will no longer feature music from artists such as Taylor Swift, Drake, or Adele due to a contract disagreement with music label Universal Music Group.
Universal accused TikTok of being a “bully” and using “intimidation” in negotiations to pay for the use of music on its platform, leading to the decision not to renew the contract.
TikTok responded strongly, accusing Universal of prioritizing greed over the interests of their artists and songwriters. The platform highlighted its role as a promotional and discovery vehicle for talent, with over a billion users.
The contract negotiations revolved around compensation for artists and songwriters, the impact of artificial intelligence, and online safety for TikTok users, leading to the removal of all Universal music from the platform.
The move is significant as TikTok has been built on the music created by Universal’s artists and songwriters, which include popular musicians like Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, SZA, Bad Bunny, and Ariana Grande.
While TikTok has reached similar agreements with other music labels, Universal raised concerns about the platform’s approach to online content and artificial intelligence-generated music.
Universal emphasized the need to protect the rights of human artists in the face of increasing AI-generated music, which has become more mainstream in recent years. They stated a responsibility to fight for a new agreement that appropriately compensates their artists and ensures a safe and moderated environment for all.