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TikTok and Sony Music reach a long-awaited licensing deal

TikTok and Sony Music reach a long-awaited licensing deal


It doesn’t seem to change much, but at least music isn’t disappearing

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

TikTok and Sony Music Entertainment have reached a licensing deal that will keep bringing songs from the record group’s roster of hit artists to the shortform video app.

Neither company would tell The Verge any real details about what this means for TikTok users. For the most part, it seems like things will largely stay the same. But that’s still an important development: TikTok has been working toward cutting new details with the major record groups since it exploded in popularity to ensure that it doesn’t lose some of the world’s top songs, and this appears to be the first deal locked in.

Sony has had some big wins come from TikTok

TikTok is paying “a significant increase” over its previous licensing deal, according to Bloomberg. The companies are also supposed to work together on ways to promote Sony artists and “greater levels of TikTok user personalization.”

Sony and its labels have had some huge wins, thanks to TikTok. Lil Nas X, whose song “Old Town Road” soared in popularity on the app, is signed to Columbia, a Sony label. And Jason Derulo’s “Savage Love,” which is unavoidable both on the app and in grocery stores (or whatever other physical locations you’re still visiting these days), was also released via Columbia.

TikTok has signed some other deals to date, including with Merlin, a large group of independent labels. But the company still appears to be working toward deals with Warner and Universal. Combined with Sony, those three make up the bulk of the music market in the US, so it’s crucial that TikTok eventually comes to more permanent agreements with them. Billboard previously reported that TikTok reached short-term licensing deals with all three majors earlier in the year, but those deals were “notably shorter” than typical agreements.