The end of January saw Universal Music pull its full catalogue including Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and many more from TikTok in row on licence fees.
Universal Music Group (UMG) stated that TikTok was offering to pay a fraction of the rate of the other major social media platforms. UMG said that it’s an “indication of how little TikTok compensates artists and songwriters, despite its massive and growing user base” and that TikTok only accounts for “about 1% of our total revenue”.
TikTok wrote: “It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters”.
Who is the National Music Publishers’ Association, and why is their backing of Universal Music Group significant?
The NMPA is a trade association representing all American music publishers and their songwriting partners. Its mission is to protect, promote, and advance the interests of music’s creators.
The president of the NMPA and CEO David Israelite said “Music is a driving force behind TikTok’s success, and it is extremely unfortunate that TikTok does not seem to value the music creators that fuel its business” and “We believe songwriters should be valued and compensated fairly, and artificial intelligence should never be used to dilute the value of human creativity.”
The significance of these issues being highlighted and backed by the NMPA creates a spotlight again on the lack of royalties that reach artists, writers and rights holders. As well as the issue with AI that can lead to creatives not being paid for their work.
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The removal of Universal Music Group’s catalogue from TikTok also leaves a bigger space for independent artists and labels to leave their mark on the social media giant.