Universal Music Group and TikTok reach new licensing agreement

Universal Music Group and TikTok reach new licensing agreement

Universal Music Group and TikTok have agreed a new licensing deal.

In a statement, the deal is described as a “multi-dimensional licensing agreement that will deliver significant industry-leading benefits for UMG’s global family of artists, songwriters and labels and will return their music to TikTok's billion-plus global community”.

It follows three months of public dispute between the major and the tech company. UMG and UMPG pulled their music from TikTok from February.

UMG’s recorded music and publishing catalogues will now return to the platform, enabling fans to create videos using music from those songs. Taylor Swift’s music had already returned to TikTok ahead of the news today. 

Music from UMG and UMPG is now expected to return to TikTok within one to two weeks, with muted videos featuring affected repertoire then available to listen to again. UMG and TikTok said they are "working expeditiously" to restore the music to the platform.

“The joint agreement marks a new era of strategic collaboration between the two organisations, built on a shared commitment to help UMG’s artists and songwriters achieve their creative and commercial potential,” added the statement. 

UMG and TikTok will deliver improved remuneration for the major’s songwriters and artists, new promotional and engagement opportunities for their recordings and songs, and industry-leading protections in relation to generative AI, according to the announcement.

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group, said: “This new chapter in our relationship with TikTok focuses on the value of music, 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 monetisation.” 

Shou Chew, CEO of TikTok, said: "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 part of the agreement, both organisations will work together on new monetisation opportunities utilising TikTok's growing e-commerce capabilities, as well as campaigns supporting UMG’s artists across genres and territories globally.

TikTok will continue to invest significant resources into building artist-centric tools for the platform. Tools available include “Add to Music App”, enhanced data and analytics, and integrated ticketing capabilities.

“In addition, TikTok and UMG will work together to ensure AI development across the music industry will protect human artistry and the economics that flow to those artists and songwriters,” said the statement. “TikTok is also committed to working with UMG to remove unauthorised AI-generated music from the platform, as well as tools to improve artist and songwriter attribution.”

Ole Obermann, TikTok's global head of music business development, said: "We are delighted to welcome UMG and UMPG back to TikTok. We look forward to working together to forge a path that creates deeper connections between artists, creators, and fans. In particular, 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". 

Michael Nash, chief digital officer and EVP, Universal Music Group, said: “Developing transformational partnerships with important innovators is critical to UMG’s commitment to promoting an environment in which artists and songwriters prosper. We’re gratified to renew our relationship with TikTok predicated on significant advancements in commercial and marketing opportunities as well as protections provided to our industry-leading roster on their platform. With the constantly evolving ways that social interaction, fan engagement, music discovery and artistic ingenuity converge on TikTok, we see great potential in our collaboration going forward.”


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