Universal Music Group has pulled the plug on its relationship with TikTok, meaning songs from artists like Drake, Nicki Minaj, Eminem and more will no longer be allowed on the platform.

UMG Ends Relationship With TikTok

On Tuesday (Jan. 30), Universal Music Group released an open letter titled “An Open Letter to the Artist and Songwriter Community Why We Must Call Time Out on TikTok,” which explains their decision to pull songs from the popular social media platform.

“Our core mission is simple: to help our artists and songwriters attain their greatest creative and commercial potential,” the open letter begins. “To achieve these goals, our teams employ their expertise and passion to strike deals with partners all around the world, partners who take seriously their responsibilities to fairly compensate our artists and songwriters and treat the user experience with respect.

“One of those partners is TikTok, an increasingly influential platform with powerful technology and a massive worldwide user base.  As with many other platforms with whom we partner, TikTok’s success as one of the world’s largest social platforms has been built in large part on the music created by our artists and songwriters.  Its senior executives proudly state publicly that “music is at the heart of the TikTok experience” and our analysis confirms that the majority of content on TikTok contains music, more than any other major social platform.”

The letter goes on to explain that the two companies’ contractural agreement ends today (Jan. 31) and they will not be renewing because of the TikTok’s failure to address their issues.

“With respect to the issue of artist and songwriter compensation, TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay,” the letter continues. “Today, as an indication of how little TikTok compensates artists and songwriters, despite its massive and growing user base, rapidly rising advertising revenue and increasing reliance on music-based content, TikTok accounts for only about 1% of our total revenue.

“Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music….We will always fight for our artists and songwriters and stand up for the creative and commercial value of music.”

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TikTok Issues Response to UMG

A spokesperson for TikTok has released the following statement to XXL is response to UMG’s decision.

“It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters,” the statement reads. “Despite Universal’s false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent. TikTok has been able to reach ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher. Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”

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UMG Previously Pulls Songs Due to A.I Concerns

Universal Music Group previously expressed concerns about the future of streaming. Last April, they took a stand against the onslaught of A.I. created content being proliferated on streaming platforms and got A.I. created songs from artists like Drake and The Weekend pulled.

Read UMG’s full letter here.

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