TikTok and Universal Music Group End Royalty Dispute With New Licensing Agreement

The new deal will look to provide “new promotional and engagement opportunities” for artists and “industry-leading protections with respect to generative AI.”

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After a months-long dispute over royalties that pushed Universal Music Group (UMG) to pull its music catalog from TikTok, the two companies have announced a new “multi-dimensional licensing agreement” that will “deliver significant industry-leading benefits for UMG’s global family of artists, songwriters and labels and will return their music to TikTok’s billion-plus global community.”

UMG’s previous licensing deal with TikTok expired at the end of January, following failed negotiations for a renewal. At the time, the record company stated that it did not want to renew the license due to the social media platform’s lack of sufficient compensation for artists and its concerns surrounding TikTok’s failure to curb AI music. Music from UMG artists, like Taylor Swift, Drake, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Lady Gaga and several others, was subsequently removed from the app for approximately three months.

As part of the new deal, UMG and TikTok stated that they will begin a “new era of strategic collaboration,” in which they will seek to provide “improved remuneration for UMG’s songwriters and artists, new promotional and engagement opportunities for their recordings and songs and industry-leading protections with respect to generative AI.”

“Music is an integral part of the TikTok ecosystem and we are pleased to have found a path forward with Universal Music Group,” said TikTok CEO Shou Chew. “We are committed to working together to drive value, discovery and promotion for all of UMG’s amazing artists and songwriters, and deepen their ability to grow, connect and engage with the TikTok community.”

Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG’s chairman and CEO, added, “This new chapter in our relationship with TikTok focuses on the value of music, the primacy of human artistry and the welfare of the creative community. We look forward to collaborating with the team at TikTok to further the interests of our artists and songwriters and drive innovation in fan engagement while advancing social music monetization.”

It’s presently unknown when exactly UMG’s catalog will return to the app.

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