The music industry’s over-reliance on TikTok shows how lazy it has become | Shaad D'Souza

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​Universal’s decision to remove its artists from ​T​ikTok ​h​as destabilised both companies – and lays bare how record labels have become reliant on random virality

Earlier this month, the music industry was hit with its biggest shake-up in years when Universal Music Group announced that it would be pulling the entirety of its catalogue – which covers everyone from K-pop stars BTS to Taylor Swift and legacy acts such as Abba – from TikTok.

In an open letter, UMG said the decision was made in protest at the platform’s low compensation rates, lack of protections around AI deepfakes and low safety standards for TikTok users. Universal also alleged that TikTok tried to “intimidate” the label by “selectively removing the music of … our developing artists, while keeping on the platform our audience-driving global stars”. TikTok’s brief response decried UMG’s “false narrative and rhetoric”.

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