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TikTok is set to lose some major musical artists over AI and pay dispute

A brain with wires over a field of music notes
The current licensing agreement between TikTok and UMG is set to expire on January 31st. | Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The music catalogs of Taylor Swift, Drake, Harry Styles, and many other artists represented by Universal Music Group (UMG) are expected to be pulled from TikTok following accusations that the video platform attempted to “bully” and “intimidate” the record label into accepting a subpar licensing deal. The current licensing agreement between TikTok and UMG is set to lapse today, January 31st, with Reuters reporting that UMG will remove its songs from the service once the deal has expired.

In an open letter published on Tuesday, UMG said that TikTok was trying to build a music-based business “without paying fair value for the music” and accused the company of selectively removing developing artists’ music from the service while continuing…

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