TikTok wrestles with UMG’s “mute-pocalypse”

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The Future. Universal Music Group made good on its promise to pull its music from TikTok after a new licensing contract fell apart. The sudden song pullback has sewn chaos across the platform, with user videos suddenly stamped with copyright infringement. UMG’s decision may not just set a precedent for other labels but also change how the music industry shares revenue with TikTok and their in-the-works music app.

Swiftly deleted
TikTok users aren’t happy about the disappearance of artists like Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, The Weeknd, and Fleetwood Mac from their videos.

  • Videos featuring music from UMG artists have gone silent, accompanied by either a note reading “sound removed due to copyright restrictions,” or “this sound isn’t available.”
  • UMG’s one million pre-cleared songs have also started to disappear from TikTok’s own library.
  • Additionally, artist profiles have lost the tab where users could sync videos with their tracks.

While most users have been left in the dark, TikTok Shop sellers did receive a step-by-step guide to change their videos’ sound (the company is not going to put that revenue in jeopardy), and users who used a track from that pre-cleared list received a prompt to change them.

UMG is also responsible for distributing music outside of the label and representing songwriters signed to other companies, so the fallout hasn’t hit rock bottom yet.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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