TikTok begins removing Universal Music Publishing content after deal stalemate

Universal Music Group logo is seen displayed in this illustration taken, May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) - TikTok has begun removing Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) content from the video app as it failed to reach a new licensing agreement with the music label, the social media firm said on Tuesday.

TikTok has also started to mute videos on its platform that feature songs written by any songwriter signed on to UMPG, after removing the songs from Universal Music Group (UMG), as the licensing deal expired on Jan. 31.

The company is likely to remove all the UMPG content before the end of February considering the legality of the matter, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. TikTok, however, has reached out to UMG and is still open to negotiate a new deal, the source added.

UMG is the parent company of UMPG that represents an expansive roster of artists such as Taylor Swift, Jon Batiste, boygenius, Ariana Grande, among others.

UMG did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The music label had reached a deal with TikTok in February 2021, which allowed users on the video app to add clips from UMG's catalog on their videos.

UMG, the world's largest music company, had said TikTok accounts for only about 1% of its total revenue.

TikTok said UMG and UMPG catalog represents around 20% to 30% of popular songs that vary depending on the region.

(Reporting by Jaspreet Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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