In the ongoing battle between TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG), tensions have escalated to include the major label’s publishing arm, Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). As negotiations for a new licensing agreement faltered, UMG’s decision to sever ties with TikTok last month was followed by UMPG’s announcement to remove its “Anglo-American” repertoire from the platform.

The conflict arises from UMG’s quest for “appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters,” protection against AI’s detrimental effects on musicians, and ensuring online safety for TikTok users. However, TikTok contends that UMG’s actions prioritize greed over artist welfare, contrasting their stance with the “artist-first” agreements made with other labels and publishers.

This latest development expands the scope of affected artists, potentially impacting big names like Taylor Swift, Adele, SZA, and The Weeknd. With uncertainties looming over the extent of the song removals and the actual stake UMPG holds in TikTok’s music catalog, the standoff underscores the complex interplay between copyright protection, fair compensation, and digital platform dynamics.

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