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TikTok Content Takes a Hit: Universal Music Group’s Drastic Decision Draws Criticism

Small artists suffer as Universal Music Group withdraws catalog from TikTok
Julia Kapros
Users of TikTok can no longer access their favorite songs and artist’s discographies.

 Outcry arises from users of TikTok after losing the ability to use music by Taylor Swift, BTS, Drake, Olivia Rodrigo and more.

  On Feb. 1, Universal Music Group removed its music catalog off TikTok, leaving the platform and its creators with significantly less music to choose from.

  “We started the removal late last night Pacific Time, Jan. 31, as we approached the deadline of the [UMG/TikTok] license expiration,” a TikTok spokesperson told NPR in an email as an explanation for the recent dramatic shift in content on the app.

  Many larger artists have had their discography removed from the platform, and while this is upsetting, it’s the smaller upcoming artists that people are worried about.

  “I think artists should get to decide if their music is on the app because it gives them more exposure,” said physical education major Taitlyn Madison. “When people hear their music on TikTok, it makes them want to listen to the whole song, which benefits the artists.”

  Artists such as Yungblud, Noah Kahan and Conan Gray, who are considered to be lesser known, have now lost the ability to promote and market their music on TikTok.

  Social media based artists such as Loren Gray, Madison Beer and Lauren Spencer Smith are taking a huge hit to revenue and exposure to the mainstream audience. Other artists are seeing this as a net positive to the music industry as a whole.

  “Ultimately, it’s a big reminder to myself and hopefully other artists that the things you create shouldn’t be beholden to massive tech companies and like the metrics that they present,”Yungblud said to Rolling Stone. “I think it’s gonna be cool what might come, when people like can just focus on pure expression and not some f*****g algorithm.” 

  Even celebrities have started speaking out against the corporations controlling this decision. During the 2024 Grammys, Trevor Noah said “The Grammys has everyone! Unlike Tiktok. You know what TikTok? Shame on you for ripping off all of these artists. How dare you? That’s Spotify’s job.”

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About the Contributor
Julia Kapros
Julia Kapros, Photography Editor/Social Media Manager
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