Taylor Swift’s songs are back on TikTok amid dispute between the platform and her record label (2024)

Taylor Swift’s songs have returned to TikTok ahead of the release of her upcoming album, “The Tortured Poets Department.”

On April 11, TikTok users regained access to some of Swift’s tracks about two months after Variety reported that the music catalog of Universal Music Group, which owns Swift's record label, Republic Records, was being removed from the social media platform due to royalty issues.

Swifties are now able to add some of the pop superstar’s hit songs, like “Cruel Summer,” “Cardigan” and “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version),” to their videos as they anticipate the arrival of the pop icon’s 11th studio album, which will be available on April 19.

Other UMG songs are still unable for use on TikTok, and it's unclear why Swift's catalog was added back. TODAY.com has reached out to UMG and Swift for comment.

Read on to learn more about the recent dispute between TikTok and UMG — whose artists also include Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Adele, Justin Bieber and Harry Styles — that caused Swift’s songs to temporarily disappear from the website.

Why were Taylor Swift’s songs removed from TikTok?

Variety first reported in January that Universal Music Group — Swift’s music label since she left Big Machine Records and signed with Republic Records in 2018 — could not agree with TikTok on a new deal involving compensation and AI issues. So, UMG announced that it planned to let its agreement with the social media platform expire on Jan. 31.

“The companies have not agreed to terms for a new agreement and upon expiration of the current agreement, Universal Music Group, including Universal Music Publishing Group, will cease licensing content to TikTok and TikTok Music services,” UMG said in a statement to the publication at the time.

The record company also posted an open letter to all artists and songwriters further explaining why the two parties could not come to an agreement.

“TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay,” UMG said in the letter, dated Jan. 30.

TikTok sent a response to Variety that said, in part, “It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters. Despite Universal’s false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent.”

The company added, “TikTok has been able to reach ‘artist-first’ agreements with every other label and publisher. Clearly, Universal’s self-serving actions are not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans.”

When were Taylor Swift’s songs removed from TikTok?

About a month after tensions between TikTok and UMG boiled over, Variety confirmed that songs by the label’s artists were missing and a new deal had not been signed.

In an article on Feb. 27, Variety revealed that more tracks, including all songs published, owned and distributed by the record label, were no longer available on the platform.

The removal also affected artists who had collaborations with UMG-contracted songwriters, according to the outlet.

Why are some UMG tracks still on TikTok after the dispute?

Although most of the UMG songs were muted when TikTok users tried to play them, some songs by Swift and other artists like Grande and Niall Horan still popped up on the website.

As Variety explained, users have uploaded unofficial versions by some UMG artists that they labeled as “original” sounds. The loophole was similar to how YouTube has multiple unofficial tracks uploaded to unverified channels.

However, as is the case with YouTube and other social media platforms, the uploads can be flagged and users could receive messages alerting them to take down the posts.

Will ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ be on TikTok?

Swift is currently preparing to release “The Tortured Poets Department,” which features multiple versions and exclusive bonus tracks.

With the agreement between TikTok and UMG still unsettled, it is unclear if Swifties will get to upload videos using Swift’s new songs.

But, “The Tortured Poets Department” will be available to stream on other platforms and is currently available for pre-order in vinyl, cassette tape, CD and digital versions.

Swift first announced her new album onstage at the Grammys on Feb. 4 and later shared the black-and-white album cover on Instagram.

“All’s fair in love and poetry…” she said in the caption.

She also revealed the track list which includes 16 songs, excluding the bonus tracks.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

Taylor Swift’s songs are back on TikTok amid dispute between the platform and her record label (2024)

FAQs

Taylor Swift’s songs are back on TikTok amid dispute between the platform and her record label? ›

On April 11, TikTok users regained access to some of Swift's tracks about two months after Variety reported that the music catalog of Universal Music Group, which owns Swift's record label, Republic Records

Republic Records
Republic Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group (UMG). Based in New York City, it was founded by Avery Lipman and Monte Lipman as an independent label in 1995, and was acquired by UMG in 2000.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Republic_Records
, was being removed from the social media platform due to royalty issues.

Did UMG put music back on TikTok? ›

On Wednesday night, TikTok and Universal Music Group, the world's biggest recorded music company, announced a new licensing deal that will return some of music's biggest performers and their songs to the platform.

Why is Taylor Swift re recording her studio albums and what it says about copyright battles with mega music labels? ›

Rather than buy into this agreement, Swift announced she would remake the albums. Under her new record deal with Universal Music Group, she'd now own whatever masters she produced. Because she is usually the main songwriter, she would already have rights to the musical works.

Why did Taylor Swift take her music off of Spotify? ›

Artists like Swift have criticized Spotify and similar sites in the past for paying low royalty rates. Spotify denied Swift's request to keep her music off its free tier. In response, Big Machine asked to have her entire catalog taken off the site.

Will TikTok get music back? ›

On Thursday the two sides announced that their new agreement would give significant benefits to UMG's global stable of artists, songwriters and labels and would return their music to TikTok.

Why can't you use music on TikTok anymore? ›

If your TikTok account is setup as a business account you won't be able to use music or sound clips in your videos. You can switch to a personal account via the "Manage Account" settings in the TikTok app.

Is Taylor Swift a billionaire? ›

The financial news outlet said she is the first artist to achieve billionaire status solely on the basis of her music, and estimated she has a $1.1 billion fortune.

How did Taylor Swift lose the rights to her songs? ›

Taylor recorded her first six albums pursuant to a recording agreement with a company called Big Machine Records, and because of the industry-standard-for-a-new-artist contractual language in Big Machine's recording agreement, Big Machine ended up owning the copyright in all those master recordings.

Who is Taylor Swift's brother? ›

Austin Kingsley Swift (born March 11, 1992) is an American producer, businessman, and actor who has appeared in films such as Live by Night and I.T.

Why did TikTok remove Taylor Swift? ›

Swift's catalog of music was among the tracks pulled from TikTok in February, after the app company and UMG failed to renew a licensing pact that expired Jan. 31.

Did Spotify pay Taylor Swift? ›

The estimated $131 million in royalties Taylor Swift's music earned from Spotify is 1.3% of $9.7 billion, so I'll assume she received 1.3% of all Spotify royalty payments. Taylor Swift is paid as both the composer and performer of her music, and also owns the master recordings of the “Taylor's Version” of her albums.

How did Taylor Swift break Spotify? ›

Swift's 10th studio album, “Midnights,” previously held the Spotify title while also making her the most-streamed artist in a single day. Swift's fourth rerecorded album, “1989 (Taylor's Version),” also broke Spotify's most-streamed artist in a single day record in 2023.

What happened between TikTok and UMG? ›

UMG announced that its music would be pulled from the app starting Feb. 1 in a letter to its artists and songwriters, saying that TikTok refused to pay the “fair value” of music and that it had concerns about TikTok's stance on AI and artist safety.

What happened to the music on TikTok? ›

Recently, TikTok has removed hundreds of artists' music from the platform due to a copyright disagreement with Universal Music Group (UMG). UMG is perhaps one of the largest music corporations in the world, working with popular singer-songwriters such as Taylor Swift, Noah Kahan, and Lana Del Rey.

Did UMG and TikTok reach a deal? ›

TikTok and Universal Music Group have reached a deal that will allow songs and artists from its labels including Olivia Rodrigo and Drake to return to the video-sharing app.

Why is my TikTok music gone? ›

We remove sounds added to TikTok if we find that they violate copyright restrictions or our Community Guidelines. If you didn't add the original sound, you won't get a notification if this happens, but we'll provide details on the reason it was removed. You also have the option to replace the sound.

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