Karol G and Feid most wins at 2024 Latin AMAs
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TikTok, the social media platform synonymous with musical trends and viral dances, has been stripped of an important part of its roster of Latino stars. Artists like Karol G, Feid, Anitta, and J Balvin, icons in the Latin music industry who have partly ridden the TikTok wave to global fame, now face a digital silence on the app.

They are not alone. Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Beyoncé, The Weeknd, and more global superstars are in the same position. They are all affected by the monumental standoff between Universal Music Group (UMG), the world's largest music corporation, and TikTok over a new licensing deal.

Compensation and Protections

As of January 31, Universal Music Group pulled its catalog from TikTok, echoing profoundly within the Latino community and beyond.

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, Hispanic teens aged between 13 and 17 saw the highest rates of respondents for all social media usage, but there were three platforms that stood out: the main one was TikTok, where almost one out of every three Hispanics (32 percent) said they use it "almost constantly," when the country-wide figure is 17 percent. 10 percent of white teens and 20 percent of black teens gave the same answer.

The dispute with Universal centers around TikTok's failure to reach an agreement with UMG on key issues: compensation, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and online safety. In an open letter dated January 30, UMG stated its "primary responsibility to our artists," putting the interests of its musicians at the forefront of this battle.

UMG accuses TikTok of offering unjustly low compensation, promoting the use of AI-generated recordings that could replace real artists, and failing to address online safety issues adequately, including inconsistent content moderation and pornographic deepfakes of artists.

UMG added that TikTok "accounts for only about 1% of our total revenue." That would be 110 million dollars a year.

In response, TikTok has countered, accusing UMG of greed while emphasizing that it has agreements with other record labels and publishers. The platform also highlighted its role as a "free vehicle for promotion and discovery" for artists.

Music that disappeared from TikTok

This move doesn't just affect artists signed under UMG labels but also extends to composers and artists associated with Universal Music Publishing Group. The list of impacted artists is wide and diverse, including global stars like Taylor Swift, BTS, Ariana Grande, and Elton John, although is not clear if affects all of them. Bad Bunny, for example, is part of Universal Publishing but his music is still playing in the platform.

However, the impact is profound within the Latino community. Artists like Feid, Karol G, Anitta and J Balvin, Cali y el Dandee, Bad Gyal, Sebastián Yatra, Alejandro Fernandez, Los Tigres Del Norte, Juan Luis Guerra, Mariah Angeliq, Jhay Cortez and more, whose hits have been partly fueled by TikTok dance challenges and trends, have seen their international presence bolstered.

Their music's absence from the platform raises questions about future promotion and outreach. The situation is particularly complicated for Bad Gyal and J Balvin, who are in the middle of a marketing effort to promote their upcoming album.

This clash isn't just a dispute between two industry giants but reflects a broader issue in the digital music world. With other major record labels like Sony and Warner also in negotiations with TikTok, the outcome of this standoff could set a significant precedent for the future of music on social media platforms.

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