Shropshire Star

TikTok and Universal settle music royalties dispute

The two firms have agreed a new licensing deal that will see high-profile tracks return to the platform.

TikTok on a phone

Millions of songs will be restored to TikTok after the social media platform settled a dispute with Universal Music Group over royalties.

The end of the row means users will once again be able to make TikTok videos featuring songs from artists such as Adele, Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande, with their return expected in the next two weeks.

The dispute had seen a number of major artists have their music withdrawn from the platform by Universal, after the two firms failed to come to an agreement in contract renewal discussions over payments to artists and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to clone artists and their music.

Ariana Grande
Users will once again be able to make TikTok videos featuring songs from artists such as Ariana Grande (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

In January, Universal claimed TikTok did not “recognise the fair value” of artists’ songs and accused the social media giant of “refusing to respond to our concerns about AI depriving songwriters from fair compensation or provide assurances that they will not train their AI models on your (artists’) songs”.

But in a joint statement, the two companies said they had now reached a new licensing agreement.

The two firms described it as a “multi-dimensional” deal which would “deliver significant, industry-leading benefits for artists, songwriters and record labels”.

It confirmed “improved remuneration” for artists and songwriters, as well as “industry-leading protections” around AI.

Sir Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group chief executive, said: “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 monetisation.”

TikTok chief executive Shou Chew said: “Music is an integral part of the TikTok ecosystem and we are pleased to have found a path forward with Universal Music Group.

“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.”

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