Universal Music Pulls Songs From the World’s Leading Artists From TikTok

Taylor Swift at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards in September 2023
Taylor Swift at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards in September 2023. Photo by Anthony Harvey/Shutterstock (14095570bb)

Music has always been an integral part of TikTok, but songs of some of the world’s leading artists will no longer be available on this platform. Universal Music Group decided to pull music from the likes of Taylor Swift, Drake, and Olivia Rodrigo from TikTok after failed negotiations to renew their licensing agreement.

The licensing agreement between UMG and TikTok expired on January 31, and their attempts to renew it didn’t pan out. UMG-owned music featured in TikTok videos will be muted from this point on, including songs from some of the world’s leading artists, ranging from Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Ariana Grande to Drake, The Weeknd, and Lana Del Rey.

Universal Music Group released a lengthy statement explaining their decision to cut ties with TikTok. They accused the social media platform of bullying them into accepting a bad deal and “trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music.”

They listed several demands that TikTok failed to meet, including fair compensation for artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users.

TikTok’s representatives described UMG’s decision as sad and disappointing, adding that “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.”