Taylor Swift and other Universal Music tracks are disappearing from TikTok

The company made good on its promise following a breakdown in negotiations.

Future Publishing via Getty Images

After threatening to do so earlier this week, Universal Music Group (UMG) has started pulling the catalogs of performers it represents including Taylor Swift, Drake, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd and others. There are no longer tracks listed in profiles of some of the world's most notable artists.

Moreover, UMG music featured in TikTok videos will be muted going forward, forcing creators to replace the tracks with options from other music labels. That won’t be easy for many of them, considering the huge number of lip-sync videos that litter the social network.

It’s a drastic move on Universal’s part, given that TikTok is a valuable marketing platform for its artists. However, UMG also has a fair amount of leverage, given that it’s the largest record label in the world with some of the most popular artists. Either way, it’s a blow for both creators and users of the platform.

Universal had previously stated that TikTok wanted to pay a "fraction" of the rate paid by other social media sites: "As our negotiations continued, TikTok attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth."

In response, TikTok said that it serves as a valuable marketing tool for artists and publishers. "Despite Universal's false narrative and rhetoric, the fact is they have chosen to walk away from the powerful support of a platform with well over a billion users that serves as a free promotional and discovery vehicle for their talent."