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TikTok Will Restore Millions of Songs After Universal Dispute Settled

A spate between two giants of the music world has finally been resolved. 


TikTok and Universal have come to an agreement after months of wrangling over music royalties. The argument saw millions of songs owned by Universal Music’s artists pulled from TikTok. These included Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and Ariana Grande. Indeed Universal owns a third of the world’s music, claims BBC News


In a first, Universal announced its intention in January publishing an "open letter to the artist and songwriter community". In it, it claimed that "…ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music". It stated that it wanted "appropriate compensation for [its] artists and songwriters” but was also concerned about "protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok's users". It then stopped licensing its content to China-based TikTok on 31st January. 


TikTok responded with a statement. In it, it wrote: "It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters. Despite Universal's false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is they have 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.”


Although sketchy on details, the two parties have now reached a deal on remuneration. Taylor Swift had already come to an agreement with TikTok as she owns her own music. Universal's boss Sir Lucian Grainge told his staff: "Under the new agreement, artist and songwriter compensation will be greater than under our prior TikTok deal." He added that the new deal will also give more power over AI-generated music. He stated: "TikTok has now addressed the primary concern we expressed in our open letter that AI generated content would massively dilute the royalty pool for human artist." TikTok’s Head of Music Business Development, Ole Obermann, added: "We will work together to make sure that AI tools are developed responsibly to enable a new era of musical creativity and fan engagement while protecting human creativity.”

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