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Universal Music's artistes to return to TikTok following new deal

Universal Music's artistes to return to TikTok following new deal

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Music corporation Universal Music Group (UMG) and video-sharing app TikTok have collaborated on a new multi-dimensional licensing agreement. The licensing agreement taps on TikTok's global community to help UMG's artists and songwriters achieve their creative and commercial potential, it said.  

As part of the agreement, both organisations will work together to realise new monetisation opportunities utilising TikTok's growing eCommerce capabilities and will work together on campaigns supporting UMG's artists across genres and territories globally. 

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TikTok will also continue to invest into building artist-centric tools that will help UMG artists realise their potential on the platform. Such tools include the 'add to music app' feature, enhanced data and analytics, and integrated ticketing capabilities that will benefit artists financially and allow them to build their fanbases using TikTok's scale and engaged community. 

“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," said Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG.

"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,” it 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," said Shou Chew, CEO of TikTok. 

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 unauthorised AI-generated music from the platform, as well as on tools to improve artist and songwriter attribution.

"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," said Ole Obermann, TikTok's head of music business development.

"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". 

"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," said Michael Nash, chief digital officer and EVP, Universal Music Group.

"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,” he added.  

For artists, UMG and TikTok will harness the platform's technology, marketing and promotional capabilities to deliver improved remuneration for UMG's songwriters and artists and provide promotional engagement opportunities for their recordings and songs. TikTok will also deliver industry-leading protections with respect to generative AI. 

Meanwhile, TikTok users can look forward to the return of UMG's recorded music and publishing catalogs and create videos using music from some of the world's biggest artists and songwriters. 

This new agreement comes after months-long standoff between the two companies over royalty payments and AI politics. On 30 January this year, UMG released an open letter to the artist and songwriter community. The letter calls for the artists and songwriters to pull out from TikTok's platform as "TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music." 

The open letter came as both companies were negotiating a deal after its initial agreement expired on 31 January. 

In a statement UMG said TikTok makes "little effort to deal with the vast amounts of content on its platform that infringe our artists’ music and it has offered no meaningful solutions to the rising tide of content adjacency issues." 

"TikTok attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less fair than market value, and not reflective of their exponential growth," said UMG in a statement. 

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