Image credit: Solen Feyissa

Major label Universal Music Group has pulled their music from TikTok, leaving space for independent music to shine brighter on the app.

Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s largest music publisher, has promised to pull its content from one the world’s most popular apps: TikTok. In an open letter published yesterday, UMG revealed that their licensing deal with TikTok ends today.

They said that they are “at an impasse in reaching a licensing agreement”. They report that they couldn’t agree on how to protect human artists from AI, the online safety of users, and how they pay Universal artists.

In what has become a public feud, TikTok responded saying: “It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.

“Despite Universal’s false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is that they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent.”

They add: “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 interest of artists, songwriters and fans.”

Why is this good news for independent artists?

For artists who aren’t signed to a major label, like those who use RouteNote to distribute their music for free to the world’s top services, this is good news. The removal of UMG’s content leaves a huge space for independent artists with their music on TikTok to step in.

Music is a huge part of TikTok. Creators will often add songs from TikTok’s vast music library to soundtrack their videos. This can lead to trends using that song and has seen the viral success of smaller artists going mainstream.

Universal is the home to massive artists such as Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and Ariana Grandé. Without many major artists, it opens up the independent artists in the music library to feature in many more videos.

As an artist, you can distribute your music to TikTok for free with RouteNote. Once your music is in their library, users can select your tracks to use in their videos. You’ll not only get paid each time your music is used, but there is the chance that the video will go viral placing your song in front of millions of viewers.