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Artists don’t care about getting paid from TikTok, Here’s Why!

UMG and TikTok can't come to terms on payments for their artists. But is this really about the app or TikTok music? Why didn’t they run Facebook into the ground? This issue affects people who are not signed to UMG and those who are, which is why nobody likes the major labels. It would be a much better world if the majors stayed out of the shareholder position.

Here’s Why Artists Could Care Less

The reason why artists don’t care about TikTok paying them is that they pay so little, to the point where it’s laughable. Now, to be fair, no artist would turn down more money; however, most artists are not naive enough to believe social media networks will pay them a rate equivalent to what Spotify pays.

Paid Per View vs Per Usage Revenue

TikTok only pays performance and mechanical royalties to songwriters and publishers currently on a per-use case and ad revenue to those with creator accounts on a per-view basis. Either way, it's way lower than what we get paid from YouTube, and it’s not worth the time to squabble because of my next point.

Attention Is the Greatest Asset

If there’s one thing that artists value over money, it’s attention. The savvy business-minded artist knows how to leverage it, and without music being available to go viral, this begins to make music creators very upset. In fact, I’m surprised many UMG artists aren’t speaking up about this.

TikTok Music Should Balance This Shortcoming

I believe TikTok Music should balance this shortcoming because it is designed to allow creators to use music and users of the app to discover music and add it to playlists without having to leave the ByteDance system. TikTok Music also will have a community feature for artists, which puts way more control in the hands of the artists than maybe a label would like. When they do balance this shortcoming, what does that say about UMG and the amount of stock UMG will have in ByteDance vs. how much stock they have in Spotify? This disrupts the entire music ecosystem.

Catalog vs. Collection

Many indie artists don’t have huge catalogs like UMG. Matter of fact, no music group on the planet has a catalog as big as UMG, which is why nobody else but UMG and their constituents are throwing a fit. Warner Music and Sony reached their deal terms last year, so why does UMG have such a big problem?

Majors Are Still Sore They Don’t Own Viable Streaming Services

Major labels don’t like the position they are in, coming in second to streaming services. They don’t like having to negotiate deal terms and not owning the whole pie, but that was their downfall in the early 2000s.

The General Public Could Care Less

The general public is still going to edit videos with their favorite music in it, and if it doesn’t work, they will try something else. The general public could give a flip about UMG; they are still going to do what they want and upload what they want.

What About Facebook?

They had their way with Facebook so much so that you cannot get mechanicals from Facebook unless you’re signed with a big boy publisher or one that holds a big market share, and it's still not a lot of money that goes toward the little independent artist if you do sign. It’s a giant income loop that you ain't a part of.

Should Artists Sign to UMG?

I don’t like major deals; however, if the deal brings the most value to you, go for it.

Will This Affect the Independents?

Yes and no. No in the short term; yes in the long term if UMG gets their way with the launch of TikTok Music.

Why Did You Make This Episode?

Because people like to hear opinions sometimes.

Check This Out!

If you're a music creative or executive looking to build your label or publishing company in 60 days or less, grab the 60-Day Record Label Course and get it done today! You’ll gain the ability to get real funding, avoid contractual pitfalls, and keep the middleman out of your pockets. Click the link below to get started now! If you’re skeptical, grab the free guide, "10 Ways to Increase Your Record Label Profits," which comes with a free split sheet download.

To All My Friends and Clients in the Universal System…

Stick it out; they’ll break soon.

To All My Friends and Clients Not in the Universal System…

Keep it moving and screw them!


If you were struggling with understanding the impact of TikTok and major label conflicts on your music career, you now have the insight to navigate these waters better. Focus on leveraging attention, and don't get distracted by low payouts from platforms like TikTok. Your path to success lies in building and engaging your fanbase, not just in chasing streams.


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