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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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UMG pulls music license from TikTok

As of Feb. 1, 2024, thousands of songs have been removed from TikTok due to a failure to reach an agreement regarding licensing rights with Universal Music Group (UMG). UMG has copyright ownership of many artists including Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Billie Eillish, Drake, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, BTS, Rihanna and countless others. Popular music that is both old and new is most likely owned by UMG. While big artists will survive not having their music available to fans on TikTok, smaller artists that are a part of UMG will majorly suffer from this cut off.  

UMG artists that first became popular thanks to TikTok users include Ice Spice, Olivia Rodrigo, Steve Lacy, Sabrina Carpenter, Noah Kahan and Megan Thee Stallion. It’s no doubt that these artists have a lot of talent and could’ve made it without having their song being popularized on TikTok, but it’s also apparent that the app boosted their careers significantly. Seeing the effect that TikTok fame can have on a new artist has inspired other artists to try promoting their work the same way. A viral sound on TikTok carries someone a long way.

What will happen to the smaller artists who rely on TikTok to promote their music? The future with TikTok and UMG is currently unclear, so all people can hope for is for the two to make an agreement that allows the music to be put back on TikTok. Some artists have resorted to making sped-up versions of their songs or putting different audios over clips from music videos, hoping to avoid any copyright issues and keep promoting their music on the platform. 

Music artists are the biggest victim of the mass removal, but it’s important to acknowledge how it has affected creators too. Millions of videos are now without sound on the app, completely damaging a lot of content made by users on the app. Famous and smaller TikTokers have had some of their most popular videos muted; ruining trends, informational videos, edits, pop culture updates and whatever else a creator might focus their content around. 

Music is an essential piece of TikTok, so it comes as no surprise that the app feels, at best, strange without it. This music removal has only made it apparent how much social media and music go hand in hand in today’s society. Hopefully UMG and TikTok can come up with a new deal in the near future.

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