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TikTok in Shambles Now That Videos Can’t Use Popular Music

End Times

It doesn't quite rise to the massive tragedy of "The Day the Music Died," but ever since Universal Music Group (UMG) pulled its artists' songs from the TikTok — which include the oeuvres of massive stars like Taylor Swift — some creators and users are having a terrible time, Wired reports.

"Some of my most viewed videos are ones talking about Taylor Swift that have Taylor Swift songs in the background," Swiftie Savannah Delullo told the news outlet. "So, them being muted is pretty sad, because we put in all of that work."

UMG and TikTok failed to reach a licensing agreement, prompting the label group to pull its catalog from the wildly popular video sharing app.

Wired reports that unofficial remixes are still available for use on the platform, but it's not clear for how much longer.

Smaller artists, even ones not signed with UMG, were flabbergasted that UMG removed from its marketing arsenal the use of a successful app that has been key to making songs go viral.

"As an artist who used to be signed with Universal Music Group — idk how they think this whole TikTok boycott is gonna work out… in 2024???" wrote British singer Mnek on X-formerly Twitter. "After all this time of bullying their artists into becoming influencers, they decide to pull this?"

Silent Dance

In a statement, UMG explained the company had pulled its musical catalog due to some major sticking points with TikTok: "appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users."

The company is essentially running into the same problem that has plagued news media in the last two decades: trying to get compensated by social media platforms for the content it develops and produces.

The statement from UMG spells this out starkly, pointing out that "TikTok accounts for only about 1 percent of our total revenue" despite the massive popularity of the app and how it heavily relies on music for driving viral content.

"Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music," it continues.

The people at UMG have a fair point. And it's going to be interesting to see how this all shakes out in the end — a battle that may may well impact how music is shared and distributed, ticking off a lot of would-be viral dancers in the process.

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