Atlanta artists and execs query UMG beef with TikTok

Singer, songwriter and someday Atlanta resident Muni Lengthy warned her followers that point was operating out to play her viral hit, “Hrs and Hrs,” whereas admonishing UMG for its choice.

Indie rocker Noah Kahan — who is ready to headline the primary evening of Shaky Knees Music Competition in Might — leveraged TikTok to advertise his viral hit single “Stick Season.” Kahan shared his tongue-in-cheek response through the app.

Albany pop artist Mazie shared their ideas in an Instagram submit, calling UMG’s actions a “complete abandonment of growing artists in your system.”

In an announcement, UMG mentioned it was dedicated to a deal that supplied truthful compensation, safety from AI and on-line security for TikTok customers. The letter alleges that TikTok was not involved with the effectively being of artists by “selectively eradicating” from growing acts earlier than, however holding on to larger names and holding onto an already unfair revenue share.

“Finally TikTok is attempting to construct a music-based enterprise, with out paying truthful worth for the music,” the letter mentioned.

In response to UMG, TikTok mentioned that they had been in a position to attain “artist-first” agreements with ever different label and writer. “Clearly, Common’s self-serving actions will not be in the very best pursuits of artists, songwriters and followers,” TikTok mentioned.

On X, the platform previously often called Twitter, one of many extra vocal native critics of the business ego checking is Barry “Hefner” Johnson.

I’m not towards any platform. These platforms are all simply advertising and marketing instruments constructed to assist acquire consciousness.

TikTok assist the attention of our file that was already platinum to our core viewers & flip it into a worldwide development.

however the music biz is behind 20 yrs to the tech ind.

— Worldwide Hef (@BarryHefner) January 31, 2024

Johnson, the co-founder and president of the administration, label and publishing firm For the reason that 80s, has helped information the careers of native Grammy-nominated acts J.I.D and EarthGang. J.I.D is signed with UMG, and noticed his already-platinum single “Encompass Sound” discover a new viewers a 12 months after its launch because of a NSFW viral problem.

He doesn’t deny that the platform helps give an already established artist a lift. “Did it deliver extra visibility and extra model recognition? 1000%. I’d by no means take that away from TikTok,” Johnson mentioned. “It made our file go loopy.”

It’s not that J.I.D wants the assistance to maneuver his tune, however Johnson mentioned a transfer reminiscent of pulling songs from lesser-known acts constructing their viewers via the platform will not be in the very best curiosity of artists, as UMG has acknowledged. “Is it the app’s job to prioritize the rising acts or is it the label who indicators them, that’s growing them. It’s your job to prioritize your growing acts, your upcoming acts, in order that they need to prioritize them on their platforms,” he mentioned.

The cash for many labels, in accordance with Johnson, is in turning catalogues belonging to larger acts like Ariana Grande, Drake and Taylor Swift right into a revenue. As a result of it’s the most secure guess for the label, the gambles which can be paying off for the opposite artists constructing their fanbase one tune snippet and dance transfer at time are being missed.

“The issue with these firms are they don’t have to take a seat in entrance of the digital camera and construct themselves on these platforms,” he mentioned. “When artists do purchase into them and also you snatch the platform away from them, you’re low-key (expletive) on their laborious work that they did to place themselves in entrance of an viewers to get transferring, to maintain their households and themselves.”

For Johnson, he sees youthful artists constructing social media followings taking the largest hit. “Take into consideration what it’s going to do to a Ken Carson and different artists within the the UMG system. That’s the place their viewers is. You simply mainly instructed their viewers they will’t use their music,” he mentioned.

There’s been no phrase on whether or not UMG and TikTok would possibly ultimately attain a deal. Johnson hopes that this showdown can stand as reminder in regards to the significance of placing impartial, growing artists first when fascinated about how labels ought to leverage social media platforms going ahead.

“You simply must be cautious and it’s a must to be thoughtful once you’re making offers,” he mentioned.” Your choice impacts a complete and the underside half of that entire won’t ever, ever be capable to compete with the highest of that,”


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