Taylor Swift, Drake, and Other UMG Artists Return to TikTok Following New Agreement on Licensing and AI

By Thea Felicity

May 02, 2024 11:52 AM EDT

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Universal Music Group (UMG) announced Wednesday that it would reduce its workforce and streamline operations to save €250 million ($27 million) by 2026.
(Photo : VALERIE MACON / AFP via Getty Images)

Universal Music Group (UMG), home to popular artists like Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Drake, has reached a new licensing agreement with TikTok, effectively resolving their recent dispute, CNBC reports.

Although Taylor Swift's music was back on TikTok weeks earlier than other UMG artists' due to her owning her publishing rights, the negotiation between the two companies continued.

UMG And TikTok's Dispute

Universal Music Group and TikTok's dispute stemmed from disagreements over content licensing earlier this year. 

Specifically, TikTok had pulled songs from artists signed to UMG after the two sides failed to reach a new deal. UMG accused TikTok of bullying and intimidation in its contract negotiations and alleged that TikTok proposed paying its artists and songwriters at a rate significantly lower than other major social platforms. 

The dispute escalated when UMG claimed that TikTok allowed its platform to be flooded with unauthorized AI-generated songs, undermining artists' intellectual property rights, according to VCPost. This is where the negotiations between the two companies started until they reached a new licensing agreement to resolve the issue.

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UMG And TikTok's New Deal

UMG's statement on Thursday states that this new deal will facilitate the return of its artists' music to TikTok. The agreement also aims to raise compensation for songwriters and artists while introducing protections against issues like unauthorized AI-generated content. 

Both parties expressed their commitment to collaboration in driving innovation and promoting the welfare of the creative community. Additionally, TikTok and UMG pledged to work together to ensure that AI development in the music industry respects artists and adequately compensates them for their work. 

As part of the agreement, TikTok will also implement measures to remove unauthorized AI-generated music from its platform and improve the attribution of artists and songwriters.

READ MORE: SAG-AFTRA, UMG, Other Major Labels To Protect Music Industry From AI-What To Know About New Anti-AI Deal

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