About three and a half months after kicking off a much-publicized licensing dispute, Universal Music Group and Triller have officially inked “expanded worldwide licensing agreements” for both recorded music and publishing.
Universal Music Group, which is preparing to go public by late September, just recently unveiled its new licensing deal with Triller, via a formal release. Back in February, when the companies’ high-profile spat initiated, UMG – which, like the other Big Three record labels, reportedly possesses an interest in Triller – pulled its music from the short-form video-sharing service.
Moreover, UMG said of the abrupt music pulldown: “We will not work with platforms that do not value artists. Triller has shamefully withheld payments owed to our artists and refuses to negotiate a license going forward.”
Then-Triller CEO Mike Lu (who transitioned to president in April, with Mahi de Silva serving as his replacement) stated that he’d learned of the UMG tracks’ removal via the press. And a spokesperson for the six-year-old app relayed in part: “Triller does not need a deal with UMG to continue operating as it has been since the relevant artists are already shareholders or partners on Triller, and thus can authorize their usage directly.”
Also worth noting is that Universal Music expanded its TikTok partnership shortly after news of the Triller licensing impasse broke. Furthermore, March saw Triller – which continued to list UMG and several subsidiaries as partners on its website following the dispute – solidify its music-industry presence by acquiring Verzuz, licensing the world’s largest music publishers, and partnering with Peloton.
And in terms of the just-finalized recorded and publishing licensing agreements, Triller users now have “access to UMG’s full catalog of music from the company’s iconic record labels and recording artists,” besides UMPG works.
The concise text doesn’t disclose the arrangement’s financial specifics or duration, but in a statement, UMG’s EVP of digital business development and strategy, Jonathan Dworkin, pointed to the contracts’ financial benefits for creators.
“We’re pleased to have a deal with Triller that embraces the importance of compensating our artists, especially given the tremendous value music generates across their platform,” said the former Nokia and Warner Music Group higher-up Dworkin.
“With this agreement, UMG continues to expand the universe of licensed social media platforms that allow fans to legitimately create and share content, while also growing an important new source of revenue for our artists,” he finished.
In February, a judge dismissed Wixen Music Publishing’s $50 million copyright infringement claim against Triller. And earlier this week, the Beijing Meishe Network Technology Company, “a smart video and audio total solution service provider,” levied a copyright infringement lawsuit against ByteDance (whose CEO will step down at 2021’s conclusion) and TikTok.