Taylor Swift’s music is back on TikTok – The Verge

Taylor Swift’s music is back on TikTok – The Verge

In January, the licensing agreement between UMG and TikTok expired and the companies blamed each other for why fans would no longer be able to use music from UMG artists on the app. UMG argued that TikTok was unwilling to pay what it wanted and that allowing AI-generated content on the app amounted to “sponsoring the replacement of artists” by the technology. Meanwhile, TikTok said UMG was greedy and capable of making deals with every other label and publisher.

It’s not immediately clear how Swift’s music made its way back to TikTok – as Variety Note that Swift may have made a separate deal with TikTok because she owns her masters. UMG and TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After UMG artists were removed from TikTok, countless videos using the affected songs suddenly went silent when the music was removed. Viral dances have taken on the quality of energetic mimes. The narration of the songs has disappeared. Even artists themselves have had to make do with audio clips uploaded by their fans and sped up up to 2x in order to promote their work on TikTok. (Here’s UMG artist Olivia Rodrigo using a fan edit audio track to announce a deluxe edition of her recent album.)

And who can blame them? In recent years, TikTok has become perhaps the most influential music discovery platform, catapulting independent artists to stardom and further elevating even the world’s most famous musicians. But artists have also reported dismal royalty payments from the platform, and sudden, explosive success tends to fizzle out after a while.

Regardless of how Swift’s music made its way back to TikTok, I can’t say I’m surprised. The platform is almost its own ecosystem within the Taylor Swift fan universe, a place where concerts are streamed live, fan theories are exchanged, and viral trends spawn mountains of content.

The timing is obvious: his new album, The Department of Tortured Poetsarrives next week, and it is not going to promote itself.


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