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TikTok and Universal Reach Settlement on Music Royalties Dispute

TikTok and Universal Reach Settlement on Music Royalties Dispute
Getty Images Ariana Grande is one of the artists whose music was pulled from TikTok in January Getty Images Ariana Grande is one of the artists whose music was pulled from TikTok in January
TikTok and Universal Reach Settlement on Music Royalties Dispute
Getty Images Ariana Grande is one of the artists whose music was pulled from TikTok in January Getty Images Ariana Grande is one of the artists whose music was pulled from TikTok in January

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TikTok and Universal Reach Settlement on Music Royalties Dispute

TikTok has agreed with Universal Music Group to reinstate millions of songs on its platform, resolving a dispute over royalty payments. This development means that users will once again have access to songs by famous artists like Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande for their video content.

The disagreement between TikTok and Universal Music Group escalated due to disputes over compensation, leading Universal to remove its artists’ music from the platform. However, the companies have now reconciled, with Universal Music Group’s CEO, Sir Lucian Grainge, stating that the new agreement will improve compensation for artists, although specific financial details were not disclosed.

Universal’s music will be gradually reinstated on TikTok over the next two weeks, including restoring audio to videos that were previously muted during the dispute. Notably, Taylor Swift had already agreed separately to return her music to the platform, leveraging her ownership of the copyright to her songs.

Shou Zi Chew, TikTok’s head, emphasized the significance of music to the platform’s ecosystem and expressed satisfaction with the resolution with Universal Music Group.

Meanwhile, the agreement also addresses concerns surrounding using artificial intelligence (AI) in music creation. In 2023, a viral TikTok song utilizing AI to mimic the voices of Drake and The Weeknd sparked controversy and was subsequently removed for copyright violations. The renewed deal incorporates “industry-leading protections” regarding AI-generated content on TikTok, aiming to safeguard human artistry.

Sir Lucian Grainge highlighted that the agreement allows for removing AI-generated content and commits to responsible AI development in music creation. Ole Obermann, TikTok’s head of music business development, echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the importance of developing AI tools responsibly while ensuring the protection of human creativity.

This development follows calls from artists like Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj for tech companies to refrain from developing AI music-generation tools without consent. While the commitments made by TikTok and Universal Music Group aim to address these concerns, their effectiveness remains to be fully evaluated.


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