The Clash: Universal Music Group vs Tiktok

Universal Music Group (UMG) and TikTok are giants in the music industry. Renowned as the world’s leading music company for some of the biggest artists in the world, UMG has much influence. Whilst TikTok has a significant number of users- around 1 billion monthly. UMG provides the music whilst TikTok provides the platform.

How did this dispute begin?

On 1st February 2024, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Tiktok were involved in a dispute over the renewal of their licensing agreement. UMG  decided to remove their entire music catalogue from Tiktok, after failing to renew its licence agreement which ended on 31st January 2024. This significant move did impact artists such as Olivia Rodrigo, Adele, Sza, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift and many other distinguished artists in the music scene right now.

Moreover, UMGĀ  expressed concerns of lack of protection for artists due to AI generated content which took the internet by storm last year. AI generated content is quite dangerous for the future as listeners often cannot differentiate between generated content and the actual artist

Which female artists were impacted by this?

Mariah Carey

Olivia Rodrigo



Taylor Swift 

Doja Cat

Nicki Minaj

Why is this a bad idea for both parties?

The removal of their music on Tiktok must have created a massive hit on these artists. Reduced visibility means less streams in which Tiktok has been useful tool in promoting music and starting viral dance trends. In addition, without their music online this would significantly reduce not only their visibility but also minimise organic growth.

What is going on currently?

Fortunately there has been resolution for both parties, settling on a mutual agreement. After settling on a new agreement, artists music has been restored on the app after months of muted Tiktoks. The new deal consists of better pay for the artists and songwriters with protection against AI generated content. This resolved conflict leads to collaborative opportunities for our female artists and Tiktok. Now, we call all enjoy or favourite artists to the fullest!

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Written by: Sharon Antwi