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Universal and Spotify Partner Amid TikTok Dispute: What Does It Mean for Listeners?

The world's largest music company and the world's largest music streamer appear to be circling the wagons.

spotify tiktok
Source: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash

UMG and Spotify have announced "an expansion of their strategic relationship."

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The world's largest music company and the world's largest music streamer appear to be circling the wagons. Universal Music Group and Spotify have just announced "an expansion of their strategic relationship" amid UMG's ongoing battle with TikTok.

Under the new agreement, UMG artists will be able to share teasers of upcoming music on Spotify "to increase fan engagement and pre-save activity before a new release." Spotify will also be able to host and distribute music videos in the United States, a continuation of a program that Spotify launched in beta in 11 international markets earlier this month.

According to a press release, the partnership between UMG and Spotify will "further amplify music discovery and social interaction and enhance fan experiences across the platform for UMG's family of artists and songwriters" through "a series of new promotional and social features that will help artists drive interaction and generate excitement around new releases."

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Daniel Ek
Source: The Mega Agency

"UMG has consistently been a progressive partner on behalf of their artists and songwriters," said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.

"We're excited to broaden our relationship with Spotify through the introduction of new content offerings and collaborations that will bring deeper 'social music' experiences to the platform. We're always striving to expand opportunities for UMG artists and songwriters to elevate engagement with their fans, especially in the introduction of new music and artist-centric initiatives," said UMG CEO/chairman Lucian Grainge.

"Spotify has been a committed partner in creating tools that help maximize attribution and fair pay for artists and songwriters, and this demonstrates that win-win partnerships between music companies and platforms create an environment where innovation, artist compensation and next-generation fan experiences can coexist and move the industry forward."

Spotify founder/CEO Daniel Ek added, "UMG has consistently been a progressive partner on behalf of their artists and songwriters, contributing to our product development efforts of experimental tools and adopting them early to help artists stand out. The forthcoming features will put more power in the hands of artists and their teams to help them authentically express themselves, efficiently promote their work, and better monetize their art."

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tiktok
Source: mega

The spat between Universal and TikTok saw thousands of songs removed from the platform in February.

In addition to the obvious benefits to both companies, the new deal potentially gives UMG some additional leverage in its dispute with TikTok by allowing it to use Spotify as an alternative for music discovery and promotion.

UMG pulled its catalog of songs from TikTok at the end of January after negotiations over their licensing agreement broke down. "TikTok proposed paying our artists and songwriters at a rate that is a fraction of the rate that similarly situated major social platforms pay," an open letter from UMG read. "Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music."

In response, TikTok said, "It is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters. Despite Universal’s false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent."

UMG continued to turn up the heat by removing songs that featured contributions from songwriters signed to their Universal Music Publishing Group arm. Another major publishing group, the National Music Publishers Association, has decided not to renew its license with TikTok when it expires at the end of April.

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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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UMG isn't the only threat that TikTok is facing. The United States Senate is currently reviewing a bill that could ban the Chinese video platform that has become a leading driver of music discovery if it does not sell to an American company.

Lawmakers fear that the popular app represents a potential national security risk due to the possibility of sensitive information being accessed by the Chinese government.

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