It’s not just Taylor Swift. The world’s biggest artist returns to TikTok

It’s not just Taylor Swift. The world’s biggest artist returns to TikTok

Ariana Grande, Adele and Rihanna will soon return to TikTok, joining Taylor Swift after a deal with Universal Music Group ended a feud that saw one of the world’s biggest record labels pull its music from the video platform.

The licensing agreement, announced on Wednesday, means that within one to two weeks TikTok’s more than 1 billion users will be able to use music by UMG artists in their videos. All videos featuring music by Universal artists that were previously muted for copyright infringement will be unmuted.

Michael Nash, chief digital officer at UMG, said the new relationship “builds on significant progress in the commercial and marketing opportunities and protection afforded to our industry-leading roster on their platforms.”

The company did not disclose any financial details but said the deal will “deliver better remuneration for UMG’s songwriters and artists,” including through TikTok’s “integrated ticketing capabilities,” TikTok’s “evolving e-commerce capabilities,” and tools that allow users to add music from TikTok videos to their music app of choice.

“We are pleased to have found a way forward with Universal Music Group,” TikTok CEO Shou Chew said in a joint statement.

“We think this announcement is a clear positive for UMG,” UBS analysts wrote in a note Thursday. They added that under “conservative assumptions” the new deal could double Universal’s revenue from TikTok to €200 million ($214 million), amounting to 2% of the company’s total revenue.

Universal pulled its music from TikTok in February after the two companies failed to reach an agreement on royalty fees for Universal’s artists, which also include Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Justin Bieber. At the time, Universal accused TikTok of “trying to build a music-based business without paying fair value for the music.”

The company also took issue with TikTok’s encouragement of AI-generated footage, which it said would “massively dilute royalty pools for human artists.”

Under the terms of the new agreement, the companies have committed to “working together to ensure that AI development across the music industry will protect the human artistry and the economy that flows to those artists and songwriters.”

“TikTok is also committed to working with UMG to remove unauthorized AI-generated music from the platform, as well as (working on) tools to improve artist and songwriter attribution,” the statement added.

Last month, Swift’s music resurfaced on TikTok ahead of the release of her latest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” though the two companies did not disclose under what terms.

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