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UMG and TikTok End Months-Long LIcensing Dispute

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The decision comes three months after UMG’s music was removed from the platform after the companies failed to reach a new deal

Universal Music Group and TikTok have reached a new licensing agreement, the companies announced, ending their months-long dispute and bringing UMG’s catalog back to the short-form video platform.

UMG first announced in an open letter at the end of January that it hadn’t reached an agreement with TikTok, citing several issues including low payment rates as well as concerns about AI music on the platform. The companies didn’t specify financial details of the new agreement but said there’d be “improved remuneration” for UMG artists and songwriters. TikTok and UMG also said they’d work together on AI development and cited “new monetization opportunities” through TikTok’s E-Commerce business.

“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,” UMG CEO Lucian Grainge said in a statement. “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 monetization.”

UMG’s entire recorded catalog came down from the platform in February, and a month later, UMPG’s publishing catalog was removed as well. The fight was divisive among UMG’s artists, many of whom first found success on TikTok and remain reliant on the platform to market their songs. Some voiced frustration they hadn’t been consulted on the decision, others voiced support for UMG, agreeing that TikTok should pay more given how large a role music plays on the platform.

Taylor Swift, who owns here masters and publishing, broke from her label in April and brought her music back onto TikTok to promote her latest album The Tortured Poets Department. With the agreement now in place, the rest of UMG’s roster and will most likely be pursuing TikTok campaigns to promote their music once again.

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“Music is an integral part of the TikTok ecosystem and we are pleased to have found a path forward with Universal Music Group,” TikTok CEO Shou Chew said in a statement. “We are committed to working together to drive value, discovery and promotion for all of UMG’s amazing artists and songwriters, and deepen their ability to grow, connect and engage with the TikTok community.”

While the UMG debacle is settled, TikTok has a much bigger battle as the Bytedance-owned platform faces a potential ban in the United States unless its Chinese parent company divests within the next year. Chew said in a video last week that TikTok would go to court to fight the ban.

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