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Universal Music Group removes music from TikTok

Meghan Whitten
Universal Music Group cuts ties with social media platform Tiktok, resulting in muted sounds and songs.

Many TikTok users have recently been confused by their favorite videos and sounds being muted or unavailable.

TikTok is a very popular social media app that operates based on music oriented, short form video content. According to Backlinko, a business building company, TikTok has amassed a viewership of 23% of internet users from ages 16 to 64. 

The reason for the removal of sound from videos was the failure of Universal Music Group (UMG) to reach a new licensing deal with TikTok. 

Both sides blame each other for the termination of the license agreement.

“TikTok has been able to reach ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher,” said TikTok’s statement released on January 30. “Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”

In a reply post by UMG on Jan. 30,  they explained the reason for the decision.

“As I’m sure you can understand, we must fight to protect our artists and songwriters,” began the reply posted by UMG. “TikTok wants you to think that since they are giving artists ‘free promotion’ for which artists should be grateful, they have no obligation to pay them fairly. What they don’t tell you is that they are generating tens of billions of dollars of revenue from artists’ work and building the largest and most valuable social media platform in the world off their music.” 

Many celebrities and artists expressed their frustration with the situation. Jack Antonoff, a music producer and artist, shared his annoyance backstage during the Grammy’s award show. 

“There’s a lot of things wrong [in the industry],” Antonoff said to a reporter in the backstage press room of the Grammys. “You’ve always got to make sure as an artist you can’t get used to being paid less, which they try to get you used to. But I think it’s ass-backwards and at the very least we should have known [about the licensing dispute].”

Many Lincoln students expressed their frustration with TikTok and UMG. Sophomore Emily Singer is an avid TikTok user. 

“It’s annoying to me because so much of TikTok is music and it’s one of the main reasons people use the app,” said Singer.

Sophomore Addie Lindberg agreed, but also said there’s a larger ethical problem with how TikTok treats creators and artists. 

“I think that [the contract termination] is partially good for the music creators and partially bad for them,” said Lindberg. “TikTok is using their songs for a very low price and really benefiting from them. But at the same time, I think that TikTok has the ability to blow up a song and get a lot of attention to the artist and the music they create.” 

Roya Edlund-Farsad, a sophomore, agreed that the publicity from TikTok can help artists, but she thinks artists need to be careful.

“I get that [TikTok] is a quick and easy way to jumpstart your career,” said Edlund-Farsad, “but that is all it should be.”

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About the Contributor
Meghan Whitten
Meghan Whitten, Sports Editor
Meghan is a sophomore this year. It's her first time on the paper, so she is excited for the experience and the chance to be a part of this amazing community! She is also excited to write for a publication! She loves sports and opinion pieces because they are so entertaining and fun to write!
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