Universal Music Group Announces Job Cuts After TikTok Deal Talks Fail

By Trisha Andrada

Feb 29, 2024 04:49 AM EST

Universal Music Group (UMG) announced Wednesday that it would reduce its workforce and streamline operations to save €250 million ($27 million) by 2026.

The announcement was made a month after its licensing deal with social media platform TikTok expired. According to UMG, the plan's first phase, in effect immediately, aims to save 125 million euros ($135 million) by 2025, including 75 million euros ($81 million) in 2024.

About 1% of UMG's yearly business income came from the TikTok deal, which ended on January 31. 

(Photo : VALERIE MACON / AFP via Getty Images)
A view of the Universal Music Group (UMG) headquarters is seen on February 9, 2021 in Santa Monica, California.

Licensing Deal of Universal Music Group and TikTok Ends

 In a statement after the licensing deal ended, Tiktok said: "It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters."

Among the many artists represented by UMG, the parent company of Universal Music Publishing Group, are Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and Jon Batiste.

On Tuesday, TikTok said it has started removing UMPG content from the video app as it failed to reach a new licensing deal with the music label. Conflicting opinions over composer and artist compensations were among the reasons the licensing failed to be renewed. 

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Confidence in the Future of Universal Music Group

When asked about the disagreement with TikTok, UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge said the company hopes to find a solution. 

"We're friendly people that like win-win situations. My phone is open ... 24 hours a day," Grainge said, as Reuters reported.

UMG noted that it is currently not seeing any adverse effects from the non-renewal of its deal with TikTok. The company said it concentrates on forming agreements with other social video platforms such as YouTube, Meta, and Snap to increase revenue.

In the fourth quarter, UMG posted a 9.2% year-on-year growth in adjusted core profit to 677 million euros ($733 million), as revenue increased 9% to 3.21 billion euros ($3.48 billion).

The company suggested a year-end dividend of 0.27 euros per share, bringing the total dividend payout in 2023 to 0.51 euros per share.

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