TikTok UMG music takedowns have begun and will happen in 3 phases
TikTok began taking down or muting Universal Music-related artists and songs overnight after the two parties failed to agree on a new licensing agreement.
The battle for words between the two companies accelerated earlier this week with TikTok accusing UMG of “greed above the interests of artists” after UMG shared an open letter saying that the social network was trying to ‘bully” them “into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth.”
Sources tell Hypebot that TikTok’s UMG music takedown will happen in three phases with a contractual deadline of 30 days after the January 31st expiration of the contract between the two companies.
In the first phase, which has already begun, TikTok will remove songs recorded by UMG artists from its pre-cleared music library, making creating new videos using its tracks more difficult.
Difficult but far from impossible.
Many creators source music elsewhere and will unknowingly use an offending track. So prepare for a new war of words as UMG monitors new uploads to TikTok and demands immediate action.
Universal Music Group is estimated to control more than 3 million tracks from artists including Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, The Weeknd, SZA, Drake, Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Rosalía, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Adele, U2, Elton John, J Balvin, Brandi Carlile, Coldplay, Post Malone and thousands more.
In the second phase, videos already posted that include UMG tracks will have the music muted.
(Want to place a bet on how long it will take for a video to go viral precisely because the music was muted?)
The third phase, which has even broader implications for the creator community and the entire music industry, will be the takedown of any use of the 4 million songs controlled by UMG Publishing Group. Many tracks, including songs where only one of multiple songwriters are represented by UMGP, were often recorded or covered by non-UMG artists and on non-UMG labels.’
While WMG reportedly has signed a deal with TikTok, what happens if Sony, Merlin, or others join the fight?
We’ve heard nothing about new negotiations between the two parties, though that doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. In the meantime, expect the verbal battle over who needs who more and who cares about artists more to continue.