TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG) Announce New Licensing Agreement

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TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG) have officially announced the new licensing agreement.

Today (May 2), Tiktok and UMG published a press release revealing the new agreement. It arrives after TikTok’s and UMG’s last agreement expired in late January, with the latter withdrawing its artists’ music from the platform as a result of both parties’ inability to work out a new deal.

UMG’s new deal with TikTok will reportedly “deliver improved remuneration for UMG’s songwriters and artists, new promotional and engagement opportunities for their recordings and songs and industry-leading protections concerning generative AI”, per a press release.

“This new chapter in our relationship with TikTok focuses on the value of music,” Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, said of their new partnership, “the primacy of human artistry, and the welfare of the creative community. We look forward to collaborating with the team at TikTok to further the interests of our artists and songwriters and drive innovation in fan engagement while advancing social music monetization.”

TikTok CEO Shou Chew, added: “Music is an integral part of the TikTok ecosystem and we are pleased to have found a path forward with Universal Music Group. We are committed to working together to drive value, discovery and promotion for all of UMG’s amazing artists and songwriters, and deepen their ability to grow, connect and engage with the TikTok community.”

As a result of the new agreement, TikTok users can expect their favourite UMG artists’ music to return to the platform “expeditiously”, although an expected date for UMG’s return has yet to be confirmed.

The press release also states that “both organisations will work together to realise new monetisation opportunities utilising TikTok’s growing e-commerce capabilities and will work together on campaigns supporting UMG’s artists across genres and territories globally”.

On the AI front, TikTok will now work with UMG to “remove unauthorised AI-generated music from the platform, as well as tools to improve artist and songwriter attribution”. Both parties will also “ensure AI development across the music industry to protect human artistry and the economics that flow to those artists and songwriters”.

The licensing agreement follows US President Joe Biden’s signing of a bill that forces TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to sell the platform’s US stakes or face a permanent ban in the United States. ByteDance has since said that it has no intention of selling the business, and would rather see the platform shut down.