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TikTok (Taylor's version): Singer's music returns despite platform's dispute with label UMG

Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Swifties on TikTok can rejoice — for now.

It seems scores of songs from Taylor Swift's catalog returned to the platform this week, just months after the singer's label Universal Music Group threatened to pull its artists' music over a licensing disagreement. The Times confirmed that hits from the Grammy winner's "Midnights, "1989 (Taylor's Version), "Fearless (Taylor's Version)" and "Folklore" albums are among the snippets featured on her official TikTok page.

In a January open letter, UMG voiced several concerns about its licensing deal with TikTok, including the company's proposed royalty rate for artists, TikTok's content moderation and protections for musicians regarding AI-generated music.

"Ultimately TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music," UMG said in its letter.

TikTok countered the UMG letter, calling the label "self-serving" and alleging its actions were "not in the best interests of artists, songwriters and fans."

Neither representatives for UMG nor Swift immediately responded to The Times' request for comment on Friday.

Word of Swift's return to TikTok quickly spread on social media Thursday, as fans celebrated with .gifs, all-caps tweets and more on X (formerly Twitter).

"TAYLOR SWIFT SONGS ARE BACK ON TIKTOK??????," one user tweeted Thursday.

While some Twitter users rejoiced in Swift's TikTok comeback, others expressed concern over the other UMG artists whose catalogs remain off the app. Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and Ariana Grande are among the UMG artists whose music easily went viral on TikTok — but their music is no longer on their profiles.

 

"The music is currently unavailable," reads a notice on both Eilish and Rodrigo's pages. On Grande's page, only a minute-long snippet of her duet on Lizzo's "Good as Hell" remains.

Swift's return to TikTok comes just before she releases her forthcoming album, "The Tortured Poets Department," next week. At February's 66th Grammy Awards, where she took home the coveted prize for album of the year, Swift announced that new music was underway.

"I want to say thank you to the fans by telling you a secret that I've been keeping from you for the last two years," she said. "Which is that my brand new album comes out April 19."

Since her reveal, Swift has doled out more information about "The Tortured Poets Department," including her track list, featured artists and the album art.

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(L.A. Times staff writer Wendy Lee contributed to this report.)

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