TikTok is making it even easier for TikTokers to find the perfect bop for their videos without worrying about music rights. Thanks to the TikTok and Universal Music Group agreement, which expands on the companies’ existing relationship, you now have even more song options. Universal Music Group recording artists include the likes of Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, so you can stop worrying if your RiRi tune is legit and post to your heart’s content, because the new agreement means you won’t be risking copyright infringement.
TikTok announced its expanded agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG) on Monday, Feb. 8, and it protects artists and TikTokers. According to the release, the UMG agreement "delivers equitable compensation for recording artists and songwriters and significantly expands and enhances the companies’ existing relationship." That means TikTokers will have more songs to use without the worry of copyright infringement.
A copyright infringement is when you distribute, reproduce, perform, or otherwise display a work that is protected by a copyright. In other words, posting a copyrighted song on TikTok that doesn’t compensate the artist and doesn’t have their permission of release is an infringement. Basically, before TikTok’s UMG agreement, any song from their catalogue was a potential infringement of its copyright. TikTok’s penalty for copyright infringement includes a removal of the content, as well as potential suspension or termination of the account in connection after multiple copyright violations.
While songs from UMG artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift may have been previously used in the app, it wasn’t without the risk of copyright infringement. Even if you haven’t had any videos taken down for copyright issues, you don’t even have to worry about it now when it comes to tracks from UMG’s catalog, thanks to the new agreement.
UMG and TikTok have also hinted at experimenting with new features in the future, but as of publication, it’s unclear what those could be. According to the release, the new agreement means that "TikTok users will now be able to incorporate clips from UMG’s full catalog of music, spanning the company’s iconic labels, songwriters and global territories." (The only exception is for brands using music in the app, which requires a separate process through TikTok’s "Commercial Music Library.") To find songs, go to TikTok’s camera, film something, and tap "Sounds" then "More" from the editing page. To find a specific song or artist, search in the "Sounds" section of the app.
TikTokers have launched songs into top-chart fame (see: "Drivers License") and revived old hits, so it’s no surprise that UMG wants to take on an equitable partnership with the social media app. TikTok also formed a similar agreement with Sony Music Entertainment in November 2020, which made music from famous and emerging artists from Sony more widely available in the app.
With more music options now available on TikTok, the only struggle you’ll have is picking which tune to pair with your video — using "Drivers License" for the 500th time is totally acceptable, though.
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