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UMG and TikTok sign new licensing agreement following royalty dispute

The new "multi-dimensional" deal will see the return of music from Universal's artists to TikTok

  • 3 May 2024
UMG and TikTok sign new licensing agreement following royalty dispute

TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG) have signed a new licensing agreement, ending a months-long dispute over royalties.

The two companies had ended their license agreement earlier this year, resulting in TikTok removing music from UMG from the platform, including work by its biggest artists such as Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

In January, UMG released an open letter accusing the platform of attempting to "bully" and "intimidate" them into "accepting a licensing deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth".

Yesterday (May 1), UMG released a new statement announcing that both parties have signed a "multi-dimensional" licensing agreement.

Claimed to mark "a new era of strategic collaboration", the joint agreement confirms the return of UMG-licensed music on the social media platform.

The statement reassured TikTok users that they "can look forward to the return" of UMG’s catalogue of music to the app.

As part of the new agreement, UMG and TikTok will be working together on monetisation opportunities such as global campaigns across musical genres as well as building "artist-centric" tools for UMG artists.

These tools include sharing enhanced data and analytics from the 'Add to Music App' feature, on top of building "ticketing capabilities" for fans.

TikTok has also agreed to work on removing unauthorised AI-generated music from the platform and "protect human artistry”.

Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, shares: "This new chapter in our relationship with TikTok focuses on the value of music, the primacy of human artistry and the welfare of the creative community."

"We look forward to collaborating with the team at TikTok to further the interests of our artists and songwriters and drive innovation in fan engagement while advancing social music monetisation."

Ole Obermann, TikTok’s Global Head of Music Business Development, adds: "We are delighted to welcome UMG and UMPG back to TikTok."

"We look forward to working together to forge a path that creates deeper connections between artists, creators, and fans. In particular, we will work together to make sure that AI tools are developed responsibly to enable a new era of musical creativity and fan engagement while protecting human creativity."

The open letter ends by outlining that both parties are "working expeditiously" to restore all UMG and UMPG music "in due course".

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