Producer of the Year Jack Antonoff Sounds Off on UMG Pulling Taylor Swift, Other Artists from TikTok

Jack Antonoff feels like the UMG/TikTok negotiations were “ass-backwards.” Last Wednesday (January 31), Universal Music Group pulled its entire catalog of artists from TikTok. This unusual move came after licensing negotiations broke down between the two companies. UMG accounts for 8 out of 10 of the most popular artists on TikTok, so creators on the platform are now going to miss out on popular sounds and snippets for their videos.

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At the GRAMMYs, Producer of the Year winner Jack Antonoff was asked for his opinion on UMG’s move away from TikTok. Antonoff frequently collaborates with Taylor Swift, who is represented by UMG.

“You got a whole industry being like, ‘You’ve got to do everything; you’ve got to do everything, and here’s where you’ve got to do it,’ and then one day it’s like, ‘Poof!’” said Antonoff backstage at the GRAMMYs, per a report from The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a lot of things wrong [in the industry]. Last time I was here we were talking about ticketing; you’ve always got to make sure as an artist you can’t get used to being paid less, which they try to get you used to. But I think it’s ass-backwards and at the very least we should have known.”

[RELATED: Universal Music Group Will Pull Entire Catalog From TikTok, What That Means for Creators]

Jack Antonoff Weighs In On UMG Removal from TikTok; What Happened There?

Last week, Universal Music Group and TikTok were in talks to renew licensing for the video app to use UMG’s catalog of music and artists. Negotiations broke down when UMG claimed TikTok would not honor three specifications that were asked for. According to UMG, they asked for “appropriate compensation for our artists and songwriters, protecting human artists from the harmful effects of AI, and online safety for TikTok’s users.”

Allegedly, TikTok did not want to deliver on these things. The platform put out its own statement on the situation, claiming, “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.”

There is currently no middle ground between the two statements—TikTok claims UMG was greedy in the negotiations, UMG claims TikTok didn’t want to appropriately compensate artists. Additionally, UMG claims TikTok tried to “intimidate” them into accepting unfair terms by “selectively removing the music of certain of our developing artists,” keeping “audience-driving global stars” on the platform.

So far, it looks like this is a permanent decision on UMG’s part. There is no current news relating to a return to negotiations between TikTok and UMG.

Featured Image by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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