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The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

TikTok Mutes Music by Universal Artists after Dispute

Photo%3A+Creative+Commons%3A+Trusted+Reviews
Photo: Creative Commons: Trusted Reviews

Have you noticed something missing from TikTok? Perhaps you’re not vibing to your favorite artists as much? This is because the Universal Music Group (UMG) started to remove its music from popular artists on the app. The changes to TikTok’s music selection occurred on February 1. Among the artists removed from the app are Taylor Swift, Drake, Olivia Rodrigo, Justin Bieber, and Ariana Grande. This censorship is the result of UMG not being able to reach an agreement with TikTok over new licensing. While not all the music will be removed at once due to users being able to upload audio, videos will continue to be muted if they contain sound from any artists in UMG’s discography of artists. 

According to TheVerge, UMG blamed TikTok for attempting to bully the company into accepting a “bad deal” and compensation that wasn’t sufficient. This happened after UMG refused to renew a licensing agreement after it expired on January 31. As mentioned by the Hindustan Times, the company said TikTok pays “a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay.” UMG criticized the lack of protection against AI music and a failure to protect artists from “hate speech, bigotry, bullying, and harassment.” AI music threatens human artists who create their own catchy tunes. Currently, the primary aim of UMG is to diverge fromTikTok and to prioritize artists’ well-being above all.

This change is making avid TikTok users very upset. TikTokers are already voicing their concerns regarding the abrupt alteration to the app in comment sections. @aveseanoa on TikTok said, “I don’t think it will affect the app, but I do think it will affect promoting some new music. So many artists went #1 because of TikTok.” Many believe that TikTok has dictated trending music and what has become a hit song for a while now. Other people believe that the benefits of the ban outweigh the negatives. @senku.ishimagi on TikTok said, “Finally no more Taylor Swift music on TikTok, yippee.” This is a positive change for haters and those sick of underground artists not being recognized.

Muting UMG’s songs on TikTok will impact the app’s musical catalog more than you might think. This is because UMG is the largest record label in history; it controls millions of songs from many popular artists. “It could negatively impact TikTok because I use it not only for entertainment but as a way to find music,” Jennifer Yang (’26) said. “Taking away audios all so suddenly could take away audios from saved/liked videos, which not only disappoints the viewers but takes away the number of views from a content creator.” This shows another con to taking away this amount of music from TikTok. Users even began jokingly using awkward sounds or silly copyright-free music to dance to because of their now limited music selection. 

It is unclear how serious UMG will get with the copyright over the music; some popular audio that belongs to the company remains on TikTok, but it will likely be taking stronger measures to block the songs from the app in the future if no agreement is made between the two companies.

It’s safe to say that there will be an empty void in imminent dance trends and content like GRWM’s (Get Ready with Me). Users are hoping for a quick renewal of a deal between the two companies, as they want to adjust back to normal content using trending audio as soon as possible.

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About the Contributors
Serra Cetin
Serra Cetin, Staff Writer
Serra Cetin ('26) is excited to write for The Echo for the first time. She enjoys writing stories about current events, entertainment, and expressing her opinion in opinion pieces. She plays piano and is on a dance competition team.
Val Reyes
Val Reyes, Guest Writer
Val Reyes ('26) is excited to write stories in The Echo about pop culture, current events, and student life. In her free time, she likes music, painting, and baking pastries.