In a potential showdown, the music of Taylor Swift and other artists affiliated with Universal Music Group (UMG) might vanish from TikTok unless a last-minute agreement is struck. UMG disclosed in an open letter that ongoing negotiations for a renewed licensing deal with the popular short video platform have hit an impasse, with the license set to expire tonight.
UMG outlined three key issues contributing to the deadlock: fair compensation for artists and songwriters, safeguarding human artists from the adverse effects of AI, and ensuring online safety for TikTok users. The letter pointed out TikTok’s proposal to pay artists and songwriters significantly less than what other major social platforms provide, accusing TikTok of attempting to establish a music-centric business without equitable compensation for the music.
A notable aspect of the dispute is TikTok’s allowance of AI-generated recordings in its content circulation and the platform’s capability for users to create AI-generated music. UMG argues that such permissions substantially reduce the royalty pool for human artists, essentially endorsing the replacement of artists by AI.
In response to the grievances, TikTok issued a statement on Tuesday, accusing UMG of “greed” and prioritizing financial gains over the well-being of its artists. This standoff raises concerns about the potential unavailability of popular music on the platform and the broader implications of AI in the music industry.