Why Harry Styles and SZA disappeared from TikTok a month after Taylor Swift and The Weeknd

The conflict between Universal and TikTok is deepening. After American megastar Taylor Swift, British legends The Beatles or Canadian The Weeknd, British pop star Harry Styles and American R&B writer SZA have disappeared from TikTok, owned by ByteDance, the Chinese conglomerate with more than a billion users.

Following the January 31 expiration of the licensing agreement between UMG and TikTok and the failure of their negotiations to renew it, all tracks recorded under contract to Universal are being removed from TikTok’s music library.

TikTok said this week, “We are in the process of responding to Universal Music Group’s request to remove all songs written (or co-written) by a songwriter under contract with Universal Music Publishing Group, which they provided us. Is in accordance with the information given.” A press release.

Video. Universal Music removed songs from TikTok

Resuming its argument from January 31, Universal responded in a public letter to artists on Thursday that TikTok “does not agree to recognize the fair value of your songs”.

According to UMG, as of a month ago, the two groups were negotiating “fair compensation” for artists and songwriters, online safety for users, and protection of artists from the harms of artificial intelligence (AI).

“AI Concerns”

The US group reiterated that TikTok “refused to take into account our concerns regarding AI” for its use of Universal artists’ songs.

As UMG ranks second in the world in the music industry, its conflict with TikTok has had a significant impact on copyright matters in music.

In recent years, music rights have become a thriving market after a wave of catalog sales allowed Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young to make money from their work. In the age of streaming and social networks these catalogs are interesting long-term assets for investors, being important promotional tools for established or emerging artists.

The owners of a song’s publishing rights receive financial compensation for each broadcast, album sale or use in advertisements and films. Registration rights regulate the reproduction and distribution of works.

Which means that in the Universal-TikTok conflict, if a songwriter associated with Universal collaborates on a track, a record from another label like Sony or Warner could be affected.


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