A lot of artists’ music have been pulled from TikTok due to copyright issues, and in true Internet fashion, some of the reactions are nothing less than hilarious.
Wondering why your TikTok For You page seems a little different today? Or why it’s filled with people just talking or trending sounds when, before, it used to include videos with music in them? Well, TikTok and one of the biggest music companies in the world, Universal Music Group, are currently undergoing a licensing contract dispute as they failed to agree on the terms of a renewal (their previous contract ended January 31st, 2024).
Just as a segue, real ones remember when hundreds of K-pop songs were removed from Spotify due to a dispute between Kakao M and the streaming service in 2021, and this is pretty similar. In an open letter, UMG called out TikTok for offering an unfair deal “that undervalues music and shortchanges artists and songwriters as well as their fans.” TikTok responded, calling UMG’s actions self-serving.
As a result, UMG pulled out their artists’ songs from the platform, leaving possibly millions of videos silent and sounds unavailable to users. It includes a whopping roster of artists, everyone from Taylor Swift to juan karlos.
Of course, it’s a major loss to all users of the platform, and a decision that leaves plenty of things in the air, but the Internet deals with things like this with unparalleled humor. So, while UMG and TikTok settle their business (and maybe you use the time to discover other artists), we’ve rounded up some hilarious reactions, from editors to creators with a very specific gimmick. Check them out below.
THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING
Watching TikToks now that they no longer playing commercial music pic.twitter.com/cWSll3WfiJ— K_TheBeauty (@k_thebeauty) February 2, 2024
Not that TikTok is a ghost town or anything now that there’s a large portion of the music library missing, but plenty of content, new or old, is now muted, and everyone took to every social media platform possible to complain or make jokes about this new user experience.
WERE YOU SILENT OR WERE YOU SILENCED?
@yourfavoriteelbow97 Should I start singing live now? 💀💀💀 #foryou#fyp#foryoupagе#poutoi#furdich#fypシ゚#3ambangers#relatable#umg#tiktokumg#tiktoksounds#nostalgia ♬ original sound – That one Multifandom poster :]
From makers of thirst traps to comedy videos, editors to influencers, creators now scroll disappointedly at their library of content, most videos silent and marked with a “This sound isn’t available.” or a “Sound removed due to copyright restrictions.” Talk about being silenced!
@_taylorroche I might’ve just cranked my last soulja boy #fypシ #foryou #dj #souljaboy #taylorroche ♬ Crank That (Soulja Boy) – The Hit Crew
Creators who have certain gimmicks, like musician Taylor Roche who’s known for his unexpected Crack That (Soulja Boy) mash-ups and transitions, have turned to making humorous renditions of their gimmicks, not letting the issue get in the way of making content.
@nickpalmai1 taylor swift’s music is gone from tiktok? THEN EXPLAIN THIS 😌 #taylorswift #midnightrain #swiftie #taylorswiftmidnightrain #autotunefilter #VoiceEffects @Taylor Swift ♬ original sound – NicksMyName
If you can’t have the music, make the music, am I right? One thing about this music issue—we’re seeing plenty of new talents DIY their own audio and recreate trending sounds themselves. Sariling sikap realness.
how I feel knowing that melanie martinez’s songs are still on tiktok and haven’t been wiped from the platform pic.twitter.com/ebNe95OE2l— 🌙 Dusk || TEAM FRIDAY (@deadfatherrr) February 1, 2024
Like the Kakao M and Spotify conflict before, what’s a musical dispute without fans lording over others that they can still access their music?
PERSONAL COLLECTIONS GONE
umg and tiktok need to sit down at a table and work something out rn!!! seeing my edits collection slowly go mute is like watching the library of alexandria burn pic.twitter.com/WeAqM76xsg— laurie︎ ♆ (pjotv spoilers) (@anneqthena) February 1, 2024
“It’s like when the Library of Alexandria burned down,” people say. As personal collections of saved or liked videos would no longer hit without the music, they are mourning the loss of edits that they often rewatch. Personally, I’m mourning the loss of this Vernon edit set to 5 Seconds of Summer’s Heartbreak Girl.
editors going insane after tiktok started removing music audios pic.twitter.com/wJntG6ZEz0— ً (@ah4mn) February 1, 2024
Editors face a bit of a problem here—a big one, actually. Given that edits, whether they’re edits of a superstar or a couple or a group, half-rely on the music they’re set to, losing a whole library of sounds . But one thing about editors is they’re creative AF, so trust that they’ll deliver something not just as captivating as their usual edits, but also hilarious. It’s the clown music for me!