TikTok and Universal Music Group: What’s next for users and artists?

Universal’s concerns are real and reflect the music industry’s most pressing challenges today: the need for artists to make a decent living, the parameters of modern licensing contracts, and the role of artificial intelligence. In recent years, music companies have begun to adapt to the reality that music fans’ attention is not only focused on jukebox-type streaming platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music, but also on a range of social platforms such as TikTok, where Music may be affected.

For TikTok, as with any social media company, the question may involve how much influence it is willing to give up to any single content partner. As important as music is on TikTok — the company has said in the past that “music is core to the TikTok experience” — it doesn’t represent the entire experience on the app; as any TikTok user knows, a song might just be a makeup tutorial Or audio wallpaper for plumbing how-to guides.

That’s a key consideration for Universal, which says it’s seeking better deals for its shows. At the same time, the longer the dispute drags on, the more harmful it will be to artists, at least in the short term. TikTok is an important promotional channel, with a generation of young fans now relying on the app to discover new and old music.

Some of the music industry’s biggest moments in recent years have happened on TikTok, from the breakout of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” to the resurgence of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” For many artists today, the absence of TikTok is like the disappearance of a Madonna video from MTV in the 1980s.

But at the same time, artists are acutely aware of the need to get better deals for their music, as well as the low rates they face in the streaming space. Talk to an artist about the business for two minutes and they’ll tell you they should be making more money streaming. They just don’t want to sacrifice promotion or connection with fans in the process.

We wait to see who blinks.

Universal’s star roster gives it clout, and losing access to thousands of the world’s most popular songs wouldn’t be a good thing for TikTok. Apps with music components rely on licensing arrangements with entertainment companies, and users expect a wide range of choices.

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