TikTok Claps Back At Universal After Scrapping Catalogue From App

31 January 2024 | 5:21 pm | Ellie Robinson

A rep for the platform slammed “Universal’s self-serving actions”.

Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (Supplied)

TikTok have officially responded to reports of the Universal Music Group (UMG) pulling its recorded music catalogue from the social video platform, slamming the major for its “self-serving actions”.

Earlier today (January 31), UMG published an open letter accusing TikTok of being unreasonable over royalty payouts, saying the platform has only been willing to offer payment at “offering payment for use of its catalogue at “a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay”.

UMG noted that TikTok accounts for just one percent of its total revenue, “despite its massive and growing user base, rapidly rising advertising revenue and increasing reliance on music-based content”. This, the company says, serves as “an indication of how little TikTok compensates artists and songwriters”, and should be seen as proof that TikTok “is trying to build a music-based business without paying fair value for the music”.

As a result, UMG has refused to renew its current licensing agreement with TikTok, which expires in a matter of hours. And now we know TikTok won’t be fighting to keep them onboard, confirming in a new statement that UMG’s full recorded music catalogue – spanning some three million tracks from heavyweight artists like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and hundreds more – will indeed be wiped from the platform.

An unnamed representative of TikTok said: “It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.”

They went on to accuse UMG of peddling a “false narrative and rhetoric”, saying the latter company chose “to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent”.

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They continued: “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.”