TikTok Music Missing Is Making Users Very Upset
#SwiftTok underwent a challenging day this Thursday. The failure of negotiations between Universal Music Group (UMG) and TikTok regarding music licensing for UMG artists led to a sudden silence of sounds from prominent artists such as Taylor Swift, Drake, and others.
Savannah Delullo, a TikTok influencer specializing in Wordle content and a devoted Swiftie, expressed her disappointment, stating, “Some of my most viewed videos are ones talking about Taylor Swift that have Taylor Swift songs in the background. So, them being muted is pretty sad, because we put in all of that work.”
Delullo highlighted the potential shift among creators towards alternative versions of official songs or experimenting with strategies to avoid copyrighted music. However, the prevailing atmosphere on #SwiftTok is far from cheerful.
Madeline Macrae, a TikTok creator and Swift fan, shared her frustration, revealing, “Half my drafts are muted now.” Despite the initial annoyance, Macrae envisions potential positive impacts. While many fans appreciate the online community fostered through social media, there’s a discomfort with reducing poetic songs into 60-second memes. Macrae commented, “Songs that Swifties would usually gatekeep aren’t going to be TikTok-ified now.”
The absence of music on TikTok isn’t limited to Swifties alone. Olivia Rodrigo’s official account features multiple videos, including one with over 50 million views, now devoid of sound. Additionally, TikToks with UMG licensed music by Billie Eilish, intended to promote her album, bear the message “This sound isn’t available.”
In recent years, UMG and other labels strategically utilized TikTok’s algorithm to propel songs into virality. The platform became a vital space for younger users to discover new music and curate playlists. If TikTok and UMG fail to renegotiate a deal promptly, this prohibition could reshape how artists unveil new music and engage with fans on social media.
Barney Hooper, the global head of music communications at TikTok, clarified in an email to WIRED that the change solely affects music from UMG. Videos with previously licensed music will remain muted until a new deal is sealed. There’s a possibility of TikTok taking measures to eliminate songs from the Universal Music Publishing Group catalog, potentially affecting a broader spectrum of artists.
For now, licensed music from UMG artists is absent on TikTok, raising questions about the fate of unofficial remixes and mashups as the catalog is erased from the platform. Viral sounds on TikTok, often distorted versions of original songs, may be at risk of disappearing soon.
Taylor Swift, an established musician for nearly two decades, has witnessed a surge in popularity. The impact of her Eras Tour on local economies and her presence at NFL games to support her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, has influenced football viewership. Losing her music, along with tunes from Drake and other UMG artists, could reshape the essence of TikTok itself.
Although Swift’s songs may no longer saturate the platform, music remains integral to the TikTok user experience. The disappearance of snippets from prominent artists could potentially herald a new era on the For You Page feed. Macrae finds a potential silver lining, stating, “I feel like a silver lining to this is that smaller or independent artists can have their chance to go viral.”
1. What happened on #SwiftTok this Thursday?
– The negotiations between Universal Music Group and TikTok regarding music licensing for UMG artists failed, leading to a sudden silence of sounds from prominent artists such as Taylor Swift and Drake.
2. How did Savannah Delullo, a TikTok influencer and Swiftie, feel about the situation?
– She expressed disappointment, stating that some of her most viewed videos feature Taylor Swift songs in the background and the silence of those songs is ‘pretty sad’ after putting in a lot of work.
3. How is this situation affecting creators on TikTok?
– Many creators, like Madeline Macrae, are frustrated that their drafts are now muted due to the absence of UMG licensed music. However, there is also potential for positive impacts as it may result in less reduction of poetic songs into 60-second memes.
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