NMPA Inks a TikTok Deal After Blasting the Company on Copyright

TikTok Resso
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TikTok Resso
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Photo Credit: Unsplash

Last October, Digital Music News was first to report that hard-fighting National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) President and CEO David Israelite had lambasted TikTok’s alleged copyright violations in a firmly worded letter sent to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a vocal critic of the app. Now, with their professional differences evidently in the rearview, the NMPA and TikTok have closed a “multiyear agreement.”

TikTok and NMPA officials unveiled the “new partnership” this morning, via a roughly 230-word-long formal statement. According to the brief announcement message, the deal “accounts for TikTok’s past use of musical works” and encompasses a “licensing framework” through which NMPA members can opt to receive compensation (retroactive to May 2020) “from their works included on TikTok.” The text didn’t specify the partnership’s precise duration or the value of the NMPA’s payments.

Addressing the TikTok “settlement” on Instagram, NMPA CEO David Israelite wrote: “This is a major victory for songwriters and publishers. Building new partnerships and income streams is even more important in this challenging time in the music industry. Songs have tremendous value and I am so pleased this settlement and global partnership with @tiktok recognizes that value.”

Early social-media reactions to the NMPA-TikTok contract appear overwhelmingly positive despite talks of TikTok’s imminent ban in the United States.

“Congratulations and thank you David and the teams at NMPA and TikTok!” wrote one individual.

“Great work from the whole NMPA crew,” penned another supporter.

Furthermore, well-supported rumors of a stateside prohibition – which could arrive in “weeks, not months” – haven’t prevented other organizations and companies from inking TikTok deals as of late. Yesterday, we reported that TikTok and Paris-based indie distributor Believe had finalized a far-reaching global distribution and marketing arrangement. And earlier this month, Sony/ATV and TikTok talent agency TalentX, which represents some of the app’s most popular creators, announced a major partnership agreement of their own. The TalentX-Sony/ATV union includes promotion for TalentX clients and even jointly owned offices and recording studios.

In keeping with an apparent plan to maintain normal operations and dissuade the U.S. government from instituting a ban, TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, also revealed this week that it intends to hire 10,000 American employees during the next three years. Current reports (supported by details from unnamed sources) are indicating that U.S. investors may acquire a majority stake in TikTok in an effort to prevent the ban, but talks between the parties (and government officials) are ongoing.