Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi, Tekno, others affected as UMG removes all songs from TikTok

Tiwa Savage

Nigerian singers like Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi, Tekno and Larry Gaaga will be affected as Universal Music Group (UMG) has said it will stop licensing its songs to TikTok.

UMG in an letteraccused TikTok of attempting to “bully” and “intimidate” them into “accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, and not reflective of their exponential growth”.

In the letter dated January 30 and addressed to the “artiste and songwriter community,” UMG disclosed that its negotiations for a new contract with TikTok ended without an agreement. It added that the deal which expired on January 31 will not be renewed.

The music company said it failed to reach new deal terms with TikTok over issues including “higher compensation for its artistes and songwriters, protection against AI-generated recordings, and online safety issues for users”.

UMG claimed that TikTok proposed paying its artistes “a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay,” and that the service “has offered no meaningful solutions” to content issues like “bullying, bigotry, and harassment, including pornographic deepfakes of artistes”.

The music company alleged that the streaming giants tried to “intimidate” them “by selectively removing the music of certain of our developing artistes” while keeping their top stars on the platform.

Responding to UMG in a statement on their website, TikTok, owned by Chinese internet conglomerate ByteDance, also accused UMG of promoting “false narratives and rhetoric”.the streaming giants claimed the music company has “put their greed above the interests of their artistes and songwriters”.

The two companies’ disagreement has the potential to affect TikTok users as well as UMG’s hundreds of musicians and songwriters across the world.

Other artistes on UMG labels include international singers like Drake, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Adele, U2, and Elton John.

In 2019, Tiwa Savage revealed how her deal with UMG amplified her music to over 60 countries.

She said joining the music group “is also an opportunity for Afrobeats songs to thrive evenly alongside other international genres of music”.