86°
Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Mansfield Lake Ridge High School's Eagle Media Website

Eagle Media

Muting the Internet

Muting+the+Internet

Taylor Swift, SZA, Kendrick Lamar, and more all signed with Universal Music Group, and all were removed from TikTok due to the contract between TikTok and UMG ending. This has changed how content creators and users now interact with TikTok, a music-based platform. Music artists have also lost a platform they used to promote their music, which may lead to smaller profits for both UMG and the music artists they have signed with. 

Universal Music Group is a music signing platform that produces, labels, and promotes music from the artists that have signed with them. In February of 2021, UMG signed a contract with TikTok allowing TikTok to use the music of UMG’s signed artists, but on February 1st of 2024, the contract expired and a new contract was not agreed upon. UMG has stated that this is because TikTok will not provide adequate compensation to UMG’s signed artists and will not protect them from AI plagiarism. 

TikTok is famous for its dances and music, but with the contract with UMG ending, the majority of TikTok’s music was removed. Choir teacher Karyn Myers believes that TikTok will not be able to survive without the music from UMG.

“If  TikTok doesn’t come to some type of agreement, then it’s not going to be able to survive because it totally depends on the music of other artists to have its videos. I would assume that they would try to make another deal with UMG and get it going again,” said Myers.

While many popular artists and their songs are removed from TikTok, content creators still remain on the platform. Senior Jonathon Wilson feels that TikTok is too popular to lose content creators.

“TikTok is the number one content creation place for creators who want to blow up, start a business, or anything. It’s the number one place to start out,” said Wilson. 

TikTok videos using a song from a signed UMG artist run the risk of being taken down instead of muted. This can happen to any video using a removed song, even if the video was not posted recently. Money made from removed videos will not be given to the creator of the video, and Wilson has been a victim of this.

“They took down a handful of my videos from last year, and they took all that money off in my month’s payment,” said Wilson.

Users of TikTok have found ways to avoid their video’s audio being completely removed. People have replaced the original audio with a cover of the song, a different royalty-free song, or a funny audio. Senior Elijah Valdez believes that not much will change due to those workarounds. 

“It’s not going to change that much. I mean, even now, people just repost songs unlicensed and it goes unnoticed,” said Valdez.

Users of TkTok have questioned why UMG or TikTok would not come to an agreement to renew their contract as it would be beneficial to both parties. Freshman Tatiyana Lucio finds the removal of UMG’s signed artists’ songs unfair.

“Nobody’s benefiting from it because they are a million-dollar company, why do they need to be damaging small content creators on TikTok with this new copyright rule?” said Lucio.

Universal Music Group and TikTok’s contract ending has affected both content creators and viewers of TikTok. People have found ways to circumvent the removal of TikTok audios so users can still enjoy TikTok videos with audio despite the ended contract.

About the Contributor
Apollo Anders
Apollo Anders, ENN Staff