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  • Taylor Swift returns her music to Tiktok

    23.04.2024 Mervi Vuorela
    Taylor Swift’s decision to return her music to Tiktok goes against what she has previously fought for.

    The music industry’s most influential artist of the moment, Taylor Swift, has returned some of her music back to Tiktok.

    The decision could have far-reaching consequences, as it comes at a time when Swift’s record label Universal Music is in contract negotiations with Tiktok. Universal removed the music of the artists it represented from the app at the end of January after failing to reach an agreement with Tiktok on compensation, AI regulation and security practices.

    Taylor Swift will own the masters of all her albums after 2019’s Lover, but they will be distributed and marketed by Universal. Swift’s direct deal with TikTok could undermine Universal’s negotiating position and hurt its efforts to improve artist compensation at TikTok.

    Universal’s position on Tiktok has been supported by a number of indie labels, music publishers and artists’ rights groups. Recently, Sony Music chairman Rob Stringer also said in an interview with the Financial Times that he would not rule out the possibility of pulling Sony artists from Tiktok unless compensation improves.

    In the past, Taylor Swift has challenged tech giants and used her influence to empower less successful artists.

    In October 2014, Swift refused to release her 1989 album on Spotify because, according to her, the streaming platform does not pay enough compensation to music creators. A month later, Swift withdrew her entire catalogue from Spotify.

    In June 2015, Swift launched a fight against Apple. She removed her music from Apple Music, accusing the platform of refusing to pay royalties to music rights holders for the three months that users tried the service for free.

    Apple relented: after Swift’s censorship, it began to compensate artists and record labels for the use of their music during the free trial.

    “This is not about me. This is about a new artist or band that has just released their first single and is not being paid for its success,” Swift wrote in an online letter to Apple.

    This may instead be about Swift herself, as her new album, When The Tortured Poets Department, was released on Friday 19 April.