NMPA not planning to renew TikTok license – will publishers follow?

The conflict between Universal Music Group and TikTok took another turn Wednesday, when the trade group National Music Publishers Association sent a letter to its members concluding it does not expect to renew its license with the China-based platform. Next month.

„Recently, the press has highlighted concerns about TikTok's licensing practices, concerns that NMPA has heard directly from many of our members,” the letter reads in part. „We do not anticipate at this time that there will be an option to renew or extend existing NMPA licenses or participate in a new license with TikTok through the NMPA.”

UMG has highlighted several issues with TikTok — most notably its low royalty payments and its policies on AI — as a An open letter and other public statements and responded on stage, And the situation has deteriorated into an ugly war of words and actions that has seen UMG remove all music it distributes or publishes from the platform, while its artists and songwriters lose their (usually small) revenue from the platform. Access to the most powerful vehicle to promote their music in the last five years. UMG says its heavy-handed tactics are in the best interest of artists.

If more publishers join — the other two giants, Sony and Warner Chappell, have yet to do so — it could mean more music disappearing from the stage and more artists and songwriters losing their livelihoods.

Although the NMPA license represents a large number of publishers, it is unclear which ones. In the letter – the full text of which appears below – the organization encourages its members to negotiate directly with TikTok if they want to continue licensing their music on the platform; Otherwise, it offers its services to „discuss implementation options.”

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Backed by the majors, the NMPA has used its considerable influence to enforce highly-favorable licenses across multiple platforms, from Pandora to Twitch to Thriller, and usually the platforms initially violate it, but eventually come around to the terms (usually very little- in their favor). Still, the UMG-TikTok standoff is the first time a major music company has faced off against a platform that has outgrown it on this scale — and says the company doesn't need music to succeed.

The text of the letter appears in full below; Variety As it develops, the condition becomes more and more.

If you are receiving this membership alert, you are currently participating in TikTok's licensing through the NMPA's 2022 Model Licensing Examination.

NMPA informs all participants that these two-year licenses will expire on April 30, 2024.

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

At this time, we do not expect to have the option to renew or extend existing NMPA licenses or participate in a new license with TikTok through the NMPA.

NMPA members must make their own business judgment whether to engage directly with TikTok to negotiate a license after April 30, 2024.

It is important that all NMPA members understand that TikTok may not use your musical works on its platform without a license.

Beginning May 1, 2024, members who are not licensed with TikTok and wish to discuss enforcement options may contact attorneys at the NMPA.

NMPA will promptly notify members if circumstances change before current TikTok licenses expire.

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