TikTok and Universal Music Group have reached a new distribution deal

(Photo Illustration by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


TikTok and Universal Music Group have reached a new distribution deal, meaning UMG artists including Drake and others can now have their music back on the app.

TikTok and UMG Reach Agreement

On Wednesday (May 1), a statement shared on UMG’s website confirmed the label had reached a deal with TikTok following a months-long stalemate between the two entities over royalty payment and licensing agreements. The companies stated that under this new deal, they’ll, “deliver improved remuneration for UMG’s songwriters and artists, new promotional and engagement opportunities for their recordings and songs and industry-leading protections with respect to generative AI.”

This means that the UMG-licensed music will return to TikTok after it was pulled from the app back in January after the two companies couldn’t reach an agreement.

The new deal also means that there will be “new monetization opportunities utilizing TikTok’s growing e-commerce capabilities.” The two companies “will work together on campaigns supporting UMG’s artists across genres and territories globally.”


It’s unclear what that’ll look like, but this means music by Drake, Bad Bunny and other artists licensed under UMG can now be used on TikTok.

Additionally, “TikTok and UMG will work together to ensure AI development across the music industry will protect human artistry and the economics that flow to those artists and songwriters.”

“This new chapter in our relationship with TikTok focuses on the value of music, the primacy of human artistry and the welfare of the creative community,” Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG, said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with the team at TikTok to further the interests of our artists and songwriters and drive innovation in fan engagement while advancing social music monetization.”

The timing of the deal feels a little odd considering TikTok is in danger of being banned from the United States in the next six months if they can’t find a Stateside buyer. President Biden has already signed the potential ban into law if the China-based company can’t meet that deadline. Is this hard-win deal even worth it if that happens? Only time will tell.

Read More: Here Are Five Tips on How to Tell If a Song Is Real or A.I.

Universal Music Group Pulls Music From TikTok

Back in January, UMG published “An Open Letter to the Artist and Songwriter Community Why We Must Call Time Out on TikTok” before abruptly removing their music from the app.


“Our core mission is simple: to help our artists and songwriters attain their greatest creative and commercial potential,” the open letter read. “To achieve these goals, our teams employ their expertise and passion to strike deals with partners all around the world, partners who take seriously their responsibilities to fairly compensate our artists and songwriters and treat the user experience with respect.”

TikTok ended up responding to the letter, criticizing UMG for putting their “greed above the interests of artists and songwriters.”


Last April, UMG also took a stand against the barrage of A.I. created content being posted on streaming platforms, and got A.I.-created songs from artists like Drake and The Weekend pulled from DSPs.