TikTok Announces New Licensing Arrangement with Universal Music Group

TikTok has today announced a new deal with Universal Music Group which will give TikTok users access to more licensed music, and strengthen ties between the app and the music industry,

As explained by TikTok:

“With this agreement, which covers recorded music from artists at UMG’s labels and songwriters with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), TikTok users will be more empowered than ever to express themselves through music, soundtrack their video creations with songs about which they are passionate and build communities around artists and music-centered culture. TikTok users will now be able to incorporate clips from UMG’s full catalog of music, spanning the company’s iconic labels, songwriters and global territories.”

TikTok has already established itself as a powerhouse for music promotion, with a single, viral TikTok clip able to spark thousands of sales of related tracks.

Take, for example, this TikTok clip that you’re no doubt well-aware of by now:

That single clip saw Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album ‘Rumors’ return to the top 10 on the Billboard chart.

UMG counts various big-name stars in its back catalog, including Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. And while a lot of tracks from these artists have been available in the app for some time, the new agreement formalizes the partnership, ensuring that TikTok users will be able to access more Universal music and use it in their clips, without risk of infringing copyright.

That, of course, doesn’t extend to brand use. Brands on TikTok are directed towards its licensed ‘Commercial Music Library‘ for their clips, in order to avoid any unwanted association. Brands that want to use licensed music need to establish individual agreements with artists, which won’t change as a result of this new agreement. TikTok announced a similar arrangement with Sony Music back in November

Given the platform’s rising influence, particularly for musicians, it makes sense for music publishers to establish better connection with the app, in order to maximize revenue share, and look to future opportunities.

Indeed, TikTok also notes in its announcement that: 

“The companies have additionally pledged to experiment with exciting new features.”

What those ‘exciting’ features might be, we don’t know as yet, but setting formal agreements in place sets the stage for TikTok to become an even more significant platform for music promotion moving forward. 

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