It looks like there could be some big changes coming to TikTok.
According to new reports, Universal Music Group—which represents several popular artists, including Taylor Swift, Drake, Adele, Billie Eilish and Bad Bunny—will no longer allow its music to be used on the social media platform.
The licensing agreement between UMG and TikTok expired on Wednesday, Jan. 31, and the music company has not agreed to a new deal as the result of unsatisfactory terms laid out by the video hosting service, which is owned by ByteDance.
In a letter addressed to artists and songwriters on Tuesday, Jan. 30, UMG detailed three issues with the platform, including "appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI and online safety for TikTok's users."
According to the letter, TikTok only proposed to pay artists "a fraction" of what other major social platforms pay artists. UMG said TikTok makes up only about 1 percent of its total revenue.
“Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music,” UMG said. However, TikTok tried to argue that it has already reached "artist-first" agreements with other labels.
Our core mission is simple: to help our artists & songwriters attain their greatest creative and commercial potential, which is why we must call time out on TikTok.
Learn More: https://t.co/yJDQ7FdgNc pic.twitter.com/Lhluz1ez5H
— Universal Music Group (@UMG) January 31, 2024
"Clearly, Universal's self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans," TikTok said, per ABC News.
But UMG also insisted that TikTok is developing technology to allow for AI music creation, accusing the platform of "demanding a contractual right which would allow this content to massively dilute the royalty pool for human artists, in a move that is nothing short of sponsoring artist replacement by AI."
Plus, UMG pointed out what they believe to be flaws in TikTok's attempt to curb hate speech, harassment, bigotry and bullying on the site, as they said such content is "monumentally cumbersome" to get removed from the platform.
UMG further accused TikTok of trying to "intimate" them during their negotiations, claiming the platform "attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth."
"How did it try to intimidate us? By selectively removing the music of certain of our developing artists, while keeping on the platform our audience-driving global stars," the music company added. "TikTok’s tactics are obvious: use its platform power to hurt vulnerable artists and try to intimidate us into conceding to a bad deal that undervalues music and shortchanges artists and songwriters as well as their fans."
"We will never do that," the company promised, vowing to "always fight" for their artists and songwriters.