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TikTok loses Taylor Swift, Drake, and other major Universal Music artists

TikTok loses Taylor Swift, Drake, and other major Universal Music artists

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Music was pulled after negotiations failed to extend TikTok’s expired licensing agreement. The dispute centers on artist pay, generative AI, and online safety.

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Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Major artists like Swift have been removed from TikTok.
Photo by Buda Mendes/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Universal Music Group (UMG) has started removing the music catalogs of performers the label represents — including Taylor Swift, Drake, and Olivia Rodrigo — from TikTok after negotiations to renew licensing agreements broke down this week. The previous licensing agreement between UMG and TikTok expired on January 31st.

On Tuesday, UMG accused the video platform of attempting to bully it into accepting a “bad deal” that didn’t soothe the record labels' concerns regarding adequate compensation for artists and songwriters, protections against AI-generated music, and online safety on the platform to protect artists from “hate speech, bigotry, bullying and harassment.” TikTok responded saying that it was “disappointing” that UMG had “chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users,” and accused the label of putting its “own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.”

Now, UMG-owned music that features in TikTok videos will be muted, and users looking to replace the removed tracks will need to select alternative options from other music labels.

Swift’s TikTok music library before the purge.
Swift’s TikTok music library before the purge.
Image: TikTok
And after the purge.
And after the purge.
Image: TikTok