Is TikTok muting all Universal Music-related songs and why?


The music is silent (well, not entirely) on TikTok as a licensing dispute between the platform and Universal Music Group (UMG) throws a wrench into user experience and artist exposure. Let’s delve deeper into this ongoing saga.


The Root of the Dispute:

At the heart of the issue lies an expired licensing agreement. In February 2024, the deal permitting TikTok to use UMG’s vast music library, which includes recordings from artists like Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, and Drake, came to an end. Negotiations for a new agreement haven’t yielded a solution, prompting UMG to take action.


UMG Flexes its Muscle:

Faced with an impasse, UMG has taken a two-pronged approach:

  1. Muting Recorded Music: UMG removed its recordings (songs owned and distributed by them) from TikTok, essentially silencing any videos that utilize these tracks. This significantly impacts content creators who relied on this music for their videos.

  2. Publishing Dispute: UMG also started removing some of the music it publishes (composes and owns the rights to) from TikTok’s pre-approved music library. While this doesn’t directly silence existing videos, it limits the options available to creators for future content.


The Ripple Effect:

This dispute has far-reaching consequences:

  • Content Creators in a Bind: Users who built their content around UMG music are now left scrambling for alternatives, as their videos are automatically muted due to the missing audio.
  • Limited Music Selection: The absence of UMG recordings narrows the pool of popular music available for content creation, potentially hindering user engagement and creativity.
  • Artists Caught in the Crossfire: While the exact number of songs affected is still unclear, popular artists signed with UMG might lose out on valuable exposure and potential fan base growth on the platform.


Looking Ahead:

Whether the music will resume playing on TikTok hinges on the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the two parties. Until then, users might have to search for alternative soundtracks or wait patiently for a resolution. Staying informed through reliable sources and official announcements from both TikTok and UMG is crucial to navigating this evolving situation.


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