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UMG-TikTok Dispute: Mariah Carey Songs Vanish from Platform

Mariah Carey hits removed from tiktok

On January 31st, 2024, Universal Music announced a significant change impacting the music industry. UMG highlighted TikTok’s minimal revenue contribution, comprising only 1% of its total. They stressed fair compensation for artists. In response, TikTok accused UMG of prioritizing greed over artists’ interests and cited successful agreements with other labels.

UMG’s decision to stop licensing content to TikTok followed the expiration of their agreement. TikTok criticized UMG’s stance, labeling it as self-serving and detrimental to artists and fans. Despite a previous global agreement promising equitable compensation, new terms were not reached. TikTok did not provide immediate comment.

Songs by some of the biggest pop stars, including Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Drake, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, and of course, Mariah Carey will disappear from TikTok as Universal Music Group (UMG) failed to renew its licensing agreement with the platform. UMG cited issues of appropriate compensation, protection from AI effects, and online safety as reasons for the failed negotiations.

How this will impact Mariah’s catalog

Mariah Carey’s extensive catalog faces repercussions in this development. Hit songs like “Touch My Body,” “It’s a Wrap,” and “Obsessed” have garnered substantial attention on TikTok, amplifying their reach. Additionally, timeless classics like “All I Want for Christmas is You” are impacted, given recent anniversary and deluxe editions licensed under Universal Music Publishing.

Moreover her numerous chart-toppers, due to inclusion on “#1 to Infinity,” encounter the same licensing challenges. Consequently, a significant portion of Mariah’s catalog will be withdrawn from the platform, leaving Mariah-themed videos seeking alternatives amidst the potential muting of Mariah soundtracks. The removal signals a substantial loss for fans and content creators alike, reshaping the TikTok music landscape and potential new audiences.

The Future of TikTok and Music

With approximately 60% of TikTok videos featuring music, it’s an integral part of the platform, used for creating trends, jokes, and background music. Concerns arise from the use of pre-existing music by AI to generate new songs, exemplified by last year’s upload of a fake Drake and The Weeknd song by an anonymous user named Ghostwriter.

Given TikTok’s role in reviving hits and its dedicated Billboard chart, the impact on the 2024 music scene remains uncertain. With a global audience of 1 billion, songs featured in personal videos gain viral traction, propelling old catalog tunes like Mariah’s to charts.

While we acknowledge the meager compensation from streaming platforms for artists and collaborators, the disparity with TikTok is concerning. Fair compensation is essential for artistic integrity. TikTok benefits greatly from music, providing artists exposure. We anticipate fairer compensation discussions and resolutions. Social platforms play a pivotal role in artist visibility, urging TikTok to prioritize equitable arrangements in future negotiations.

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