TikTok refuses to recognise the fair value of your songs, says Universal Music

1 March 2024, 02:24

TikTok. Picture: PA

The record label said it recognises the dispute ‘might be uncomfortable at the moment’ for songwriters.

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has claimed TikTok is refusing to respond to concerns over artificial intelligence (AI) in an ongoing dispute, indicating “they simply do not value your music”.

The entertainment companies have failed to come to an agreement in contract renewal discussions over payments to artists, AI and online safety.

The impasse could mean more musicians face the prospect of their work disappearing from social media platform TikTok, which has driven music consumption over recent years.

“TikTok is removing UMPG songs because there is no license in place,” the record label said in a statement to its songwriters.

“As you may have heard, to date, they have not agreed to recognise the fair value of your songs, which so many other digital partners around the world have done.

“In addition to fair compensation for your songs, the negotiations have also focused on two other critical and equally important issues: protecting you, human artists and songwriters, from the harmful effects of AI; and online safety for TikTok’s users, including your fans which include young children.

The statement described TikTok’s intentions towards AI as “increasingly apparent”, saying the company is “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 songs”.

“Every indication is that they simply do not value your music,” it said.

The impasse could mean even more musicians face the prospect of their work disappearing from TikTok (Matt Slocum/AP/PA)

“We understand the disruption is difficult for some of you and your careers, and we are sensitive to how this may affect you around the world. We recognise that this might be uncomfortable at the moment.

“But it is critical for the sustained future value, safety and health of the entire music ecosystem, including all music fans.”

UMPG added that it will only support partners that “value songwriters, artists and your songs” and it will continue to fight “for our songwriters” following a long and successful history of doing so.

The statement comes a day after TikTok announced it was in the process of carrying out UMPG’s requirement to “remove all songs that have been written (or co-written) by a songwriter signed to UMPG based on information they have provided”.

“Their actions not only affect the songwriters and artists that they represent, but now also impact many artists and songwriters not signed to Universal,” it said.

“We remain committed to reaching an equitable agreement with Universal Music Group.”

By Press Association

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