TikTok Ends Its Licensing Dispute With STIM, GEMA and PRS — Multi-Year Agreement Signed

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Photo Credit: Kon Karampelas

TikTok has ended its licensing dispute with ICE, including member organizations PRS for Music, GEMA, STIM, IMRO, Concord, and others, by closing a new deal.

TikTok and ICE, which encompasses Downtown and Peer Music, in addition to the above-mentioned collecting societies and indie publishers, unveiled their recently inked licensing agreement today. The multi-year and multi-territory arrangement covers TikTok “from launch.” The short-form video-sharing app debuted in September of 2016, and its initial licensing talks with ICE ended in a stalemate last summer – according to ICE cofounder PRS’s individual statement.

Moreover, the pact arrives about seven weeks after TikTok rival Triller and ICE Core closed a multi-year and multi-territory licensing deal of their own. Following the Indian government’s late-June TikTok ban and the U.S. government’s moves to outlaw the controversial platform, Triller took several noteworthy steps to fill the short-form video-sharing void. (TikTok’s stateside fate remains unclear, and the Indian government, which banned 43 more apps with Chinese ties this week, doesn’t appear likely to reverse course in the near future.)

To be sure, Triller solidified its content-delivery infrastructure and finalized a strategic partnership with India’s JioSaavn in August. The five-year-old app has also experienced a clear-cut popularity boost and, separately, continues to face off against TikTok in a high-profile patent infringement lawsuit. On the latter front, TikTok fired back late last month with a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement for the underlying patent.

In spite of these developments and its setback-heavy 2020, TikTok – which boasts more than 100 million U.S. users and generated north of $115 million through in-app purchases in October alone – has continued to make significant plays on the international stage. Earlier this month, for instance, the company unveiled a massive licensing deal with Sony Music, which will make the Big Three label’s tracks “widely available” to TikTok’s users and will see the two “work together to support greater levels of TikTok user personalization and creativity.”

Additionally, TikTok has secured a global marketing and distribution deal with Paris’ Believe, a multi-year agreement with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), and a different licensing deal yet with the Netherlands’ Buma/Stemra.

Lastly, recent months have brought some unflattering headlines for both TikTok and Triller, independent of their rivalry. A BBC investigation found at November’s start that TikTok had failed to remove a known child predator; the company previously settled a child-privacy class-action lawsuit for more than $1 million – and is currently facing another privacy-related suit.

Triller, for its part, was slapped with a $50 million copyright infringement complaint from Wixen Music Publishing about one week ago. And in October, higher-ups denied that they’d inflated the app’s user count and called the former employees who levied the allegation “disgruntled.”