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Universal Music Group removes songs from TikTok after contract ends

Universal Music Group has removed a large selection of songs from TikTok following the end of the group's contract with the app.
Universal Music Group has removed a large selection of songs from TikTok following the end of the group's contract with the app.

Artists have been promoting their music through TikTok for years now. Many have gone from being small, independent artists to having mainstream hits, all because of a song going viral on the platform — but not anymore.

Following the end of a contract between Universal Music Group (UMG) and TikTok, the company is slowly taking music by all of its artists off the platform.

One of the main arguments from Universal is that artists are not properly compensated by TikTok for their work. Despite artists not making much of a profit from the platform itself, it has served as a way to promote music, with many songs gaining popularity through TikTok.

UMG represents big artists like Taylor Swift, Reneé Rapp, Billie Eilish, SZA, The Weeknd and more, meaning that all of their music will disappear off the platform.

Many existing videos using music by these artists have since been muted, including videos by the artists themselves. It’s their work — they should be able to share it if they want to.

Rapp, who is best known for her debut album “Snow Angel,” took to her alternate Instagram account to share her thoughts on the issue.

She shared a screenshot from her TikTok saying the sound was removed due to copyright, with the caption “how r u copyrighting if I wrote it.”

Conan Gray, who is affiliated with Republic Records, a branch of UMG, shared in an interview with Rolling Stone that his “career is over” following the removal of his music.

The platform has been a tool that has helped launch the careers of many artists in the past few years, but if an artist is signed with Universal or any affiliated company, they can no longer use it.

If artists write or create a song, it should be their choice whether they want it shared on a platform like TikTok, regardless of who they are signed with. It’s their work; they should be able to promote it however they please.

Despite the claim from Universal that artists don’t receive fair pay for their work on the platform, TikTok has done a lot for the industry. Many songs only get the streams they do because of the app.

When I hear a song I like on TikTok, I often look it up on Spotify and add it to my playlists, as I know many others do as well. TikTok has also helped me discover many of my now favorite artists.

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Not only does this removal affect the artists, it also impacts the fans who use their music in videos and edits or enjoy partaking in trends surrounding the songs.

This new development is creating a real challenge for Swift fans especially, with a variety of the artist’s songs having been used in many different viral TikTok trends.

Without music, TikTok is basically pointless. Sure, there are other uses of the platform, but dances, lip-sync videos and other music-related trends are the heart and soul of the platform.

Universal represents some of the biggest artists in the industry, and its music being removed from TikTok has a significant impact on the artists, fans and the platform itself. TikTok isn’t TikTok without music, and the music industry wouldn’t be what it is today without TikTok.