TikTok

Taylor Swift’s music returns to TikTok even as label fights over artist compensation

Author: Editors Desk Source: The Guardian
April 12, 2024 at 05:31
Taylor Swift pictured in Los Angeles in 2023. The singer’s music has returned to TikTok, despite her record label Universal Music fighting with the app over artist compensation. Photograph: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Taylor Swift pictured in Los Angeles in 2023. The singer’s music has returned to TikTok, despite her record label Universal Music fighting with the app over artist compensation. Photograph: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Taylor Swift’s music has returned to TikTok, despite the singer’s record label, Universal Music, and the Chinese short-video app remaining at loggerheadsover artist compensation and artificial intelligence.

The return of Swift’s music comes one week ahead of the release of her new album, The Tortured Poets Department.

Swift’s return to TikTok had been in the works for some time, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The pop superstar owns the copyrights to her recordings through a 2018 deal struck with Universal that lets her control where her work is made available, unlike many other artists.

Universal Music ceased licensing its content to TikTok and TikTok Music services when their previous agreement expired on 31 January.Universal Music, the biggest music company in the world, published a blistering open letter the day before the agreement expired, accusing TikTok of bullying and intimidation, and complaining of “how little TikTok compensates artists and songwriters, despite its massive and growing user base, rapidly rising advertising revenue and increasing reliance on music-based content”.

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, called this “a false narrative” and said that UMG had “chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent”.

TikTok subsequently removed thousands of songs from its platform and muted the videos that featured those songs, written by any songwriter signed on to Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG).

This meant some of the world’s most popular music – including by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Harry Styles, Drake, Sting, the Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Adele, U2, Coldplay and Post Malone – all disappeared from TikTok’s library.

TikTok, Universal Music and representatives for Swift did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

 

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