Universal Music Group has withdrawn its music from TikTok, impacting over 1 billion users who can no longer stream songs from artists like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande. The decision not to renew the licensing agreement came as Universal couldn’t secure what it deemed “appropriate compensation” for its artists and songwriters.

TikTok, owned by ByteDance, proposed a payment rate significantly lower than comparable social media platforms. Universal, based in the Netherlands, charges royalty fees for its songs on such platforms and owns music by Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, J Balvin, and Amy Winehouse. TikTok accused Universal of promoting a “false narrative and rhetoric” and prioritizing “their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.”

“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,” TikTok said in a statement.

Universal, on its part, accused TikTok of attempting to establish a music-centric business without adequately compensating for the music’s fair value.

As an illustration of TikTok’s minimal compensation to artists and songwriters, Universal highlighted that, despite TikTok’s substantial user base, increasing advertising revenue, and growing reliance on music-based content, it contributes only about 1% to their total revenue.

Universal also emphasized its efforts to urge TikTok to enhance protections for musicians against the adverse effects of artificial intelligence and to ensure online safety for TikTok users.

Universal criticized TikTok for allowing its platform to be inundated with AI-generated music and facilitating users to create their own AI-generated recordings.

In response to these concerns, Universal claimed that TikTok exhibited “indifference, and then with intimidation,” noting instances where TikTok removed some emerging artists from the platform while retaining the music of global stars.