Just Days After Music Publishers Threaten TikTok, the AMAs Strike a Major Partnership

Photo Credit: TikTok

The American Music Awards has become the first award show to announce nominees on TikTok.  Major music publishers aren’t exactly thrilled.

For mega-pubs like Universal Music Publishing Group, the scene may have been surreal. Earlier today, TikTok creators Joshua Cureton, Nick Tangorra, and Brittany Tomlinson participated in an upbeat partnership announcement with the American Music Awards. All three creators announced nominees for the favorite music video, favorite social artist, and collaboration of the year.

Each TikTok creator released a custom video with the nominees in their iconic fashion. Cureton debuted a music video using themes from other popular music videos. Tangorra debuted an original rap about the best collabs of the year. Meanwhile, Tomlinson did a straight-to-camera monologue about the top social artists.

The announcement comes just days after UMPG, Warner/Chappell Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Downtown Music Publishing, Reservoir Media, and other publishers declared TikTok a mass copyright infringer.  “Numerous works continue to be used unlawfully as the platform’s popularity grows exponentially,” National Music Publishers’ Association chief David Israelite declared in a letter to members of Congress.  Israelite decried that “the scale of TikTok’s copyright infringement in the U.S. is likely considerable and deserves scrutiny.”

Israelite did not respond to an inquiry concerning the AMA announcement.

The NMPA letter itself came on the heels of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio urging an investigation into TikTok.

Rubio wrote a letter to the Committee on Foreign Investment, detailing censorship and copyright infringement claims. Rubio’s letter said TikTok’s censoring of content promoted the Chinese government’s agenda. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, one of the fastest-growing tech companies inside China.

Beyond the heated politics and infringement allegations, there’s a pretty good demo match for the AMAs.  Nearly 41% of TikTok’s userbase is under 24-years-old. The partnership with the American Music Awards brings the platform into mainstream focus. From now until the AMAs air on November 24th, the AMA TikTok account will share original video content.

And the nominees are…

Collaboration of the Year

  • Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, “Shallow”
  • Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road”
  • Marshmello & Bastille, “Happier”
  • Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello, “Señorita”
  • Post Malone & Swae Lee, “Sunflower” (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Favorite Music Video

  • Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”
  • Ariana Grande, “7 Rings”
  • Halsey, “Without Me”
  • Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road”
  • Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down”

Favorite Social Artists

  • BTS
  • Billie Eilish
  • EXO
  • Ariana Grande
  • Shawn Mendes

TikTok’s impressive growth streak across the globe is continuing even as rivalries kick off. Just this week, rival platform Triller raised $28 million to combat TikTok’s growth in the social video space. Whether that investment will pay off remains to be seen, though all three major labels are taking equity stakes in the TikTok nemesis.  That will ease licensing costs and approvals for Triller, with TikTok undoubtedly facing a tougher clearance terrain ahead.

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