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Universal Music Group & TikTok Reach New Licensing Agreement

Universal Music Group and TikTok have announced a new “multi-dimensional” licensing agreement that will return music from UMG’s family of artists, songwriters and labels to the short video platform.

Earlier this year, Universal Music pulled its songs from TikTok, citing financial terms and concerns about inadequate restrictions on artificial intelligence tools. The catalog of four million songs includes tracks from Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny, Adele and many others.

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

The deal is designed to deliver improved remuneration for UMG’s songwriters and artists, new promotional and engagement opportunities for their recordings and songs and industry-leading protections with respect to generative AI.

UMG and TikTok say they are working “expeditiously” to return music by artists represented by Universal Music Group and songwriters represented by Universal Music Publishing Group to TikTok.  

As part of the agreement, both organizations will work together to realize new monetization opportunities utilizing TikTok’s growing e-commerce capabilities and will work together on campaigns supporting UMG’s artists across genres and territories globally.

TikTok will continue to invest significant resources into building artist-centric tools that will help UMG artists realize their potential on the growing platform. Tools including “Add to Music App,” enhanced data and analytics, and integrated ticketing capabilities “will benefit artists, both financially and in building their global fanbases using TikTok’s scale and engaged community, while strengthening online safety protections for artists and their fans,” UMG and TikTok said.

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. TikTok is also committed to working with UMG to remove unauthorized AI-generated music from the platform, as well as tools to improve artist and songwriter attribution.”

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 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.”

Ole Obermann, TikTok’s Global Head of Music Business Development, commented, “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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