Fans of Stonebwoy and other African musicians will be saddened to learn that Universal Music Group (UMG) will no longer license its music library to TikTok. This comes after the two companies were unable to come to an understanding over several issues.
Any song released under the Universal Music Group label may no longer be available on the popular video-sharing website as of today, January 31, 2024. Videos that already exist and use UMG’s music run the risk of being deleted or muted.
The failure to reach a new agreement over payment for UMG’s music usage on the platform is the root of the enmity between TikTok and UMG.
Universal announced in a statement that it had chosen to remove all of its song catalog from TikTok due to three major problems:
Conflict over compensation: UMG insists on fair pay for its songwriters and artists.
AI’s impact on artists: There are worries about shielding traditional artists from artificial intelligence’s (AI) potentially negative consequences.
Online safety: making sure users of TikTok are safe.
In a statement, UMG claimed that TikTok is not fairly compensating artists and songwriters for their work and that the platform is trying to establish a music-based business without doing enough to support them.
In addition, UMG charged TikTok with violating their copyright and intimidating them into taking a bad deal. They draw attention to the fact that TikTok only makes up around 1% of their overall revenue, highlighting the meager payment the platform offers for its vast music collection.
TikTok responded by angrily refuting UMG’s accusations and lamenting UMG’s greedy decision to put its interests ahead of those of songwriters and artists. TikTok contended that UMG’s actions are not in the best interests of the artists, songwriters, and fans and that it has artist-first agreements with every other label and publisher.
Additionally, TikTok defended its position as a free platform for UMG talent discovery and promotion, highlighting its billion-strong user base of music enthusiasts.
For those who create content on TikTok, such as Stonebwoy and other fans of African artists, the loss of access to UMG’s content library is probably a huge blow, as they now have fewer music options available on the platform.
They risk missing out on challenges and viral trends related to UMG songs like “Apotheke” and “Into the Future.” TikTok users may also have their favorite videos with UMG’s music muted or removed, leaving the digital content creation community to deal with the fallout from this well-publicized compensation dispute.
The biggest record label in the world, UMG, represents a roster of well-known musicians that includes Mr. Eazi, Yemi Alade, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, and Stonebwoy.