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After Already Losing UMG’s Roster, Independent Music Publishers Could Leave TikTok in May




TikTok started taking down all the songs written or co-written by artists signed to Universal Music Group (UMG) as the platform’s battle over music rights drags on.



The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) warned some of its members on Tuesday that the organizations’ license with TikTok ends April 30 and it “do[es] not anticipate” to renew, extend or form a new license with the platform, according to a letter obtained by Billboard.


This means that a lot more music could be removed from TikTok come May, spreading the reach of recent music takedowns far beyond what users have already experienced since Universal Music Group began pulling its recorded music and publishing catalogs off the platform in the last month. The NMPA license is used by a number of independent music publishers, but the organization has previously declined to specify which ones.


“Recently, the press has highlighted concerns around TikTok’s licensing practices, concerns that NMPA has heard directly from many of our members,” says the organization in its letter to members.


If publishers wish to continue to license their works to TikTok, the NMPA’s letter urges publishers using its license to “engage directly with TikTok to negotiate a license beyond April 30.” For those that wish to let the license lapse at the end of April, the NMPA says its attorneys are available to “discuss enforcement options.”


“It is important that all NMPA members understand that without a license in place, TikTok should not be using your musical works on its platform,” the organization wrote.


The NMPA negotiates its TikTok license an optional offering for its membership, allowing them to bypass the strain and cost of negotiating directly with the short-form video app. Though the major music publishers are part of the NMPA’s membership, they do not use the NMPA model license for TikTok and, instead, negotiate their deals directly.


David Israelite, the NMPA’s CEO and president, previously announced that the NMPA license was up for renewal in April, but this is the first time the organization has acknowledged that it will not be pursuing that renewal. “I’m only going to say two things about TikTok,” Israelite said at an Association of Independent Music Publishers’ event in Los Angels on Feb. 1. “The first is I think music is tremendously important to the business model of TikTok, and, secondly, I am just stating the fact that the NMPA model license, which many of you are using, with TikTok expires in April.”


The NMPA is known for its aggressive approach to licensing negotiations with social media sites, streaming services and gaming platforms. On Tuesday, it was announced that a federal judge will allow the NMPA’s multi-million dollar lawsuit against X to go forward, although it tossed some significant elements of the case. The NMPA has also similarly fought back against Twitch, Roblox, and Pandora in recent years.


Read the full letter to NMPA members below:


If you are receiving this Member Alert you are currently participating in a license with TikTok through NMPA’s 2022 model license opt-in.


NMPA is notifying all participants that these two-year licenses are set to expire on April 30, 2024.

Recently, the press has highlighted concerns around TikTok’s licensing practices, concerns that NMPA has heard directly from many of our members.


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.


NMPA members should make their own business determination whether to engage directly with TikTok to negotiate a license beyond April 30, 2024.


It is important that all NMPA members understand that without a license in place, TikTok should not be using your musical works on its platform.


Starting May 1, 2024, any members who are not licensed with TikTok and would like to discuss enforcement options can contact attorneys at NMPA.


If circumstances change prior to the expiration of the current TikTok licenses, NMPA will promptly notify members.


With TikTok losing music licenses, congress trying to ban TikTok in the US, and and their stock going down while Meta's stock increases, the social app is not having a good month.





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