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Why TikTok users have lost access to Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish songs?

Why TikTok users have lost access to Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish songs?

TikTok users are facing a significant disruption as the platform has lost access to songs from Universal Music Group artists following the collapse of contract negotiations. Access to Universal’s extensive artist roster ceased on Wednesday, leading to TikTok muting videos featuring the label’s music. This development comes after months of unsuccessful negotiations between TikTok and Universal Music Group.

Universal accuses TikTok of inadequate compensation for artists, failure to address AI-related concerns, and lax handling of online safety issues. TikTok is urged to compensate artists at a rate comparable to other social media platforms, currently representing only 1% of total revenue for Universal Music. Universal raises concerns about AI-generated content flooding TikTok and diluting the royalty pool for artists, along with issues of “problematic content,” including sexualized images of artists like Billie Eilish, sparking online safety concerns.

In response, TikTok accuses Universal of prioritizing “greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters,” emphasizing that Universal is walking away from a powerful promotional platform reaching over a billion users. The fallout is evident, with Taylor Swift’s TikTok account, boasting 23.9 million followers, displaying a notice that her music is currently unavailable.

The situation has shocked TikTok users, particularly among the younger demographic that heavily relies on the platform for music trends. Some express disbelief and disappointment over the removal of Taylor Swift’s music. Jokes circulate about users considering Meta’s short-form video competitor, Instagram Reels, as an alternative.

Wall Street analysts praise Universal for the move, estimating a potential loss of less than $109 million offset by users turning to competitor music apps. This dispute underscores the ongoing challenges and negotiations between tech platforms and the music industry regarding fair compensation for artists. TikTok’s impact on the music industry is evident, and the removal of Universal’s music raises questions about future collaborations.

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