TikTok to Remove More Songs Amid Universal Music Group Row

    TikTok to Remove More Songs Amid Universal Music Group Row
    Image copyright: Thaddaeus McAdams/Contributor/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Amid an ongoing dispute with the Universal Music Group (UMG) record label, social media platform TikTok is set to purge thousands of popular songs made by artists signed to UMG.

    • TikTok began removing songs owned or distributed by UMG last month after its parent company, ByteDance, failed to reach a deal over royalties with the record. TikTok must now remove songs that contain compositions controlled by Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG).


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    UMG deserves kudos for protecting its artists’ work and fighting back against TikTok’s greed. The short-form video platform has become a favorite of hundreds of millions largely due to the music that accompanies many viral videos. However, TikTok only pays a minute fraction for the rights to millions of songs by the world’s most popular artists. TikTok is trying to exploit the work of many artists, both famous and up-and-comers, and it has a moral and legal responsibility to fairly compensate them. TikTok could end its dispute with UMG if it just paid a fair price for music rights.

    Narrative B

    Universal Music is using its artists as a Trojan Horse for its corporate greed, and it is only depriving fans of the ability to connect with their favorite musicians. Many artists owe their fame to going viral on TikTok, leading them to sign with giant record labels like UMG. Now, UMG wants to remove all of those artists’ work from the most popular short video app in the world. TikTok has been able to reach deals with other leaders in the music industry, whereas Universal is trying to bully its way into getting more money from TikTok. At the end of the day, UMG’s greed is separating artists from fans and limiting the exposure of its artists.


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