Even more songs are now being removed from TikTok due to UMG royalties dispute

Videos will remain up, but sound will be removed.

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TikTok app icon on a phone screen. It shows a music note graphic on a black background.

Image: Matt Cardy / Getty

You’ve probably heard the news that TikTok and Universal Music Group have had a disagreement over royalties. If you haven’t, well this is exactly why so many songs have disappeared from TikTok, leaving your videos muted.

However, even more tracks are set to be removed as UMG has now made the platform take off songs that contain compositions controlled by Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). This means that all songs written or co-written by a songwriter signed to UMPG must be removed.

This news has been confirmed to TechCrunch. According to the outlet, in order to be legally compliant and remove all content licensed by UMPG before the end of February, it says that TikTok needs to start removing the songs now. UMG and UMPG’s catalogue represents roughly 20-30 per cent of popular songs on TikTok.

To give some context, the disagreement between the two companies began back in January. In an open letter titled ‘Why we must call time out on TikTok’, UMG accused TikTok of attempting to “bully” them into “accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth”.

UMG said that during its contract renewal discussions with TikTok, it had been “pressing” the company on “three critical issues”, including “appropriate compensation” for artists and songwriters, “protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users.”

TikTok’s own open letter said it was “sad and disappointing” that Universal Music Group had “put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.”

It added, “TikTok has been able to reach ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher. Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”


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