TikTok Tiff

How the TikTok and Universal Music Group beef will affect queer artists

TikTok has beef with a major record label and spells trouble for your favorite recording artists.

On Tuesday, Universal Music Group (UMG) shook the music and social media worlds when they stated in an open letter that they would pull their music catalog from TikTok when their contract expires on January 31. UMG, which houses record labels such as Capitol, Republic, and Polydor, accused TikTok of “trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music,” citing concerns around rates, infringing upon singers and songwriters’ work, the app’s stance on artificial intelligence, and the online harassment the app harbors.

UMG even went as far as saying that TikTok “attempted to bully” them into a deal that was allegedly worth less than the previous deal to access their music catalog. However, TikTok didn’t take the allegations lightly.

The popular social media app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, issued its own statement, claiming UMG’s narrative is false and that the record company puts “greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.”

“It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.” TikTok said in a statement “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. TikTok has been able to reach ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher. Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”

Everyone has beef nowadays, but UMG’s conflict with TikTok is a bigger problem for many artists. TikTok boasts 1.5 million users and many of them use recording artists’ songs within their posts. With UMG removing their music catalog from the app, numerous artists who rely on TikTok’s streams to promote their work will lose out on the app’s influence.

Which means songs like Sam Smith and Kim Petras‘ “Unholy” and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” would’ve lost out on the immense online popularity they gained. Going forward, this also means that queer artists and queerly beloved artists like Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, SZA, Nicki Minaj, Bad Bunny, Halsey, Rosalía, Ariana Grande, and more will have their music removed from the site.

So fans might not be adding their fave’s new hit to their latest TikTok dance video the next time they login to the app.

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