This last Thursday, Tik Tok got quieter as millions of tik tok sounds were taken down or “muted”. Artists like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Drake, and Harry Styles were all victim to this, creating an uprising for many creators. A lot of creators are upset that most of the sounds on their account are muted. Influencers who focus a portion of their job on mass social media networks, like Tik Tok, come to show that their account may experience a downfall with so many sounds removed.
So why is this happening?
Universal Music Group, one of the biggest music organizations in the world, claimed that their licensing agreement with Tik Tok ended on Wednesday, January 31st. This caused all of their songs with these popular artists to be taken off the platform. Losing all of these sounds has caused chaos across the platform. Issues like pay disagreements and AI concerns have caused the UMG to end their licensing with Tik Tok.
The use of AI-generated music has been a growing concern within the music industry
A Tik Tok video using AI-generated voices of Drake, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar went viral last year. This created questions from user’s about if this creation was actually real or not. Same thing with another video featuring Drake and The Weekend had millions of views on multiple platforms, including Tik Tok, Youtube, Apple, and Spotify, until it was removed. AI content has skyrocketed, causing concerns with UMG due to them being the main producers of these artists. UMG sent a letter to these streaming services, asking them to prevent these AI creations with their produced songs. They were overall looking out for their artists due to the harmful effects they could face due to this. Tik Tok creators were not happy with this. They responded, saying UMG was “self-serving” to walk away from such a powerful platform with billions of users.
Not only this large issue between UMG and Tik Tok, but payout disagreements were another large factor. The website Forbes, described this issue in its recent article: “UMG claims TikTok proposed payouts for its artists that were a “fraction” of the amount other major social media platforms pay, further adding TikTok only makes up around 1% of its total revenue.” With this, Universal Music Group put up a fight for it’s artists, resulting in millions of these main tik tok artists songs being taken down.
Tik Tok sounds are stored in a music library, which users have access to and are able to create videos with. As Universal Music Group has pulled song catalog from Tik Tok, millions of videos are affected. Many songs from UMG have created viral tik tok trends, that billions of users have made videos too. Though these videos were never deleted, the sounds are removed, leaving many creator’s videos without sound.