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What Would a TikTok Ban Mean for the Music Industry?

The platform has the power to quickly elevate new musicians and revive the careers of forgotten artists, but politicians are concerned about ties to China.

TikTok
Source: MEGA

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that could lead to TikTok being banned in the country.

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If the U.S. House of Representatives has its way, TikTok could soon be banned in the U.S. That would have a massive impact on the music industry if it comes to pass.

Representatives believe the short-form video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance presents a grave national security threat. They're concerned that sensitive personal information about U.S. citizens and companies could be passed along to the Chinese government.

They want the federal government to force the sale of the platform to an American company. If ByteDance refuses, then the bill aims to ban the app within six months. The legislation still needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate and President Joe Biden.

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TikTok
Source: MEGA

The platform has the power to quickly elevate new musicians and revive the careers of forgotten artists, but politicians are concerned about the platform's ties to China.

This caused an uproar among young Americans, many of whom spend several hours a day on TikTok. That's why the app has become such a powerful platform for music discovery. American artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Lizzo and Lil Nas X had tracks go viral on TikTok and saw their careers explode, sometimes overnight.

The platform has also revived the careers of older musicians including Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Kate Bush and Duster.

Music has been at the center of the platform since its earliest days. The company's heritage can be traced back to an app called Musical.ly, which was focused on lip-syncing videos.

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The proposed ban also angered TikTok itself: "A U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion people who use our service worldwide," a spokesperson for the platform told Reuters.

The move drew rebukes from free speech advocates, as well, including the American Civil Liberties Union.

"We’re disappointed that the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to approve a bill that would effectively ban TikTok in the United States, in violation of Americans’ First Amendment rights," said Jenna Leventoff, a senior policy counsel for the group. "We urge legislators to vote no on this vague, overbroad, and unconstitutional bill."

The U.S. isn't the only country where politicians are concerned about TikTok. The app has also been banned in India, Afghanistan and Taiwan.

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TikTok
Source: MEGA

If the bill is approved by the U.S. Senate and the president, TikTok's parent company would have six months to sell the company to an American buyer.

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Some major American companies also have grievances about TikTok, as well. That includes Universal Music Group, which has pulled thousands of songs from the platform in recent weeks.

"TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay," the company said in an open letter. "Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music."

Beyoncé, Adele, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Ice Spice, Elton John and Metallica have all been impacted by UMG's effort.

TikTok
Source: MEGA

If they refuse, the app would be officially banned in the U.S.

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Now the National Music Publishers Association, a trade group representing a bevy of independent publishers, is following suit. On March 7, the group sent a letter to its membership noting that its license with TikTok will expire at the end of April and that it has no plans to renew.

"Recently, the press has highlighted concerns around TikTok’s licensing practices, concerns that NMPA has heard directly from many of our members," said the letter obtained by Billboard.

"At this time, we do not anticipate that there will be an option to renew or extend the current NMPA licenses or participate in a new license with TikTok through NMPA."

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