TikTok and Universal Music Group are in the final hours of an epic standoff that will see all the label’s music removed from the world’s biggest app … and neither side is budging.
UMG let off a lengthy statement on Tuesday defending their stance on their waning contract — which is set to expire at midnight — accusing TikTok of sitting back and getting filthy rich off their product without “paying its fair share.”
That’s why they’re now taking the position of yanking their artists’ music off the platform … basically, they feel TikTok needs to pay more cash to license their tunes.
Universal also argued they’ve applied every potential countermeasure available to ensure their artists are protected from AI impersonation and online security … something they say TikTok has failed to do for the music industry and its fans overall.
The Big 3 label has a huge roster … Taylor Swift, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Bad Bunny, Ice Spice, Rosalía — and dozens of other superstar names will soon be affected, but UMG says they have a greater responsibility to uphold.
TikTok snapped back at UMG, pinpointing the issue on classic corporate GREED … they accused UMG of spinning a “false narrative” and noted they have healthy ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher.
UMG has been monitoring its books closely … earlier in January, Variety reported that UMG was preparing to fire hundreds of employees — primarily targeting the recorded music division. So, on its face, it appears they’re tightening their belt on all fronts.
Russ, the rapper, has been speaking out on industry politics since going fully independent a couple of years ago and he’s weighing in here as well … saying both parties have too much stake in the game to drop the ball at midnight. He thinks UMG’s crusade to protect the artists is simply code language to appease their own bottom line.
Both sides should act fast, or risk Swifties and Munchkins soon using TikTok for a different reason … to post their meltdowns and tantrums for lack of Tay Tay’s music.