Taylor Swift, Drake, The Weeknd and Olivia Rodrigo are amongst a host of stars who have had their music catalogs removed from TikTok after negotiations to renew licensing agreements broke down.
The reason came down to money – and how it was shared.
A licensing agreement between TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG), which represented the performers expired on Wednesday, and a new deal could not be reached, the BBC reports.
UMG, the world’s largest record label, said China-owned TikTok wanted to pay a “fraction” of the rate other social media sites do for access to its songs while TikTok accused UMG of presenting a “false narrative and rhetoric.”
Wake up, America. Communist China’s TikTok is taking over. https://t.co/JzS3l0i1Co
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 7, 2021
The music company previously reached a deal with TikTok in February 2021, which allowed users on the app to be able to incorporate clips from its music catalogue in their videos.
Now, UMG-owned music that features in TikTok videos will be muted on the video sharing site, and users looking to replace the removed tracks will need to select alternative options from other music labels.
Some artists such as Ariana Grande and Katy Perry have had most of their music disappear from their official pages, except a few songs which are on other labels.
Billie Eilish, another UMG artist, has had all but one of her songs taken down, the BBC report noted.
Her song What Was I Made For? was featured in the Barbie movie – whose soundtrack was published by Warner Music Group.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Murder on the Dancefloor, which became a viral hit after appearing in the film Saltburn, is also unavailable.
TikTok suggests possible harmful content around topics such as self-harm and eating disorders to new users within minutes of joining the platform. https://t.co/HFyiFYSfCI
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 19, 2022
Unofficial, sped-up and slowed-down versions of tracks are still available to use.
TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Despite it having more than one billion users, it accounts for one percent of Universal’s total revenue, the label said.
Universal’s rival Warner Music agreed a licensing deal with TikTok in July 2023.