Is TikTok Losing More Music? — NMPA Says It Isn’t Renewing Its TikTok License

TikTok NMPA license not renewing
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TikTok NMPA license not renewing
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Photo Credit: NMPA

The NMPA says it has no plans to renew its licensing deal with TikTok, which expires on April 30th, raising the question of whether indie publishers will join UMG’s boycott of the platform.

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), which represents a number of independent music publishers, reports that it isn’t planning to renew its licensing deal with TikTok when the current licensing arrangement expires on April 30th. So what does this mean for music used on the short-form video sharing platform?

The NMPA told its members in a note emailed on Tuesday (March 5th) that it “does not anticipate that there will be an option to renew or extend the current NMPA licenses or participate in a new license with TikTok.” Indie publishers who want to continue to license their music to TikTok after April 30th will need to “engage directly” with the platform.

The NMPA also represents major music publishers, though in many cases, those bigger pubs structure their own agreements.

The organization’s stance should come as little surprise, as president and CEO David Israelite has previously announced his support of Universal Music Group’s refusal to renew its recorded music and publishing license with TikTok. UMG’s recorded music license with TikTok expired on February 1st, while its publishing catalog license expired on the service on March 1st.

“Music is a driving force behind TikTok’s success, and it is extremely unfortunate that TikTok does not seem to value the music creators that fuel its business,” said Israelite in a statement last month. “We believe songwriters should be valued and compensated fairly, and we believe artificial intelligence should never be used to dilute the value of human creativity.”

The note to NMPA’s members refers to recent press coverage that highlights “concerns around TikTok’s licensing practices,” which NMPA says it has also heard about directly from many of its members.

“It is important that all NMPA members understand that without a license in place, TikTok should not be using your musical works on its platform,” the memo reads. “Starting May 1, 2024, any members who are not licensed with TikTok and would like to discuss enforcement options can contact attorneys at NMPA.”

While the NMPA has not confirmed which indie publishers are currently covered under its existing TikTok deal that was signed in 2022, suspected members include many of those who acted as plaintiffs in NMPA’s 2019 lawsuit against home exercise company Peloton. Those include Big Deal Music, Downtown Music Publishing, Reservoir Media Management, Round Hill Music, Ultra Music Publishing, Tunecore, and many more.