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Universal Music Group On The Brink Of Removing Songs As A Result Of Failure To Reach Agreement With TikTok

According to a report from NBC News, the world of TikTok is at a nail-biting standstill as Universal Music Group (UMG) threatens to pull their music from TikTok, the social media platform that has become a hub for music discovery. If a deal is not reached by the end of Wednesday, January 31st, the music of Taylor Swift, Drake, Olivia Rodrigo, and many others, may disappear from the platform.

TikTok has been a vital part of the modern music ecosystem, with an estimated 1.5 billion monthly users who can enhance their videos with music from across the main record label catalogs. However, Universal Music Group has announced that it will pull its tracks due to a lack of compensation for its artists and songwriters.

"TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay," UMG said.

In response, TikTok has accused UMG of putting “their own greed above the interests of artists and songwriters.” The Chinese-owned platform, which has gained popularity worldwide, has also accused UMG of selectively removing the music of certain developing artists while keeping audience-driving global stars.

UMG, on the other hand, has stated that TikTok only accounts for 1% of its advertising revenue, despite its artists representing 8 out of 10 of the most popular bands and singers on the platform last year. The music giant also claims that it is concerned about the growth of artificial intelligence tools used in TikTok videos and their effect on intellectual property. Moreover, UMG has complained about the amount of content that commits copyright infringement, as well as "a tidal wave of hate speech, bigotry, bullying, and harassment."

 "As our negotiations continued, TikTok attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth," it said.

UMG is one of the so-called "Big Three" global music companies and has licensed artists such as The Beatles, Elton John, Bob Dylan, U2, Ariana Grande, SZA, Billie Eilish, Adele, Coldplay, and many more. The company has also alleged that TikTok is not paying enough attention to the issue of copyright infringement.

In an open letter to its artists titled "Why We Must Call Time Out on TikTok," UMG said: "Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music."

TikTok, which signed a music licensing deal with Warner Music Group last year, has not specifically responded to UMG's allegations but has accused the company of putting out a "false narrative and rhetoric." It also pointed out that it has been able to sign deals with other major music labels.

“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.

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