The Universal Music Group pulled its catalog from the TikTok competitor app Triller. A UMG spokesman made the following statement: “We will not work with platforms that do not appreciate artists. Triller has shamefully withheld payments to our artists and refuses to negotiate a license in the future. We have no choice but to remove our music from trills with immediate effect. “
Mike Lu, CEO of Triller, gave Billboard a development statement saying, “This has to be a bad punk episode. I’m waiting for Ashton to jump out of my closet. Our relationship with UMG is solid. The biggest artists are investors and partners of Triller and Universal owns a part of Triller. It is difficult for us to believe that UMG would not warn or notify us, only inform us through the press. “
When reached by Pitchfork, a trill speaker made the following statement:
We can confirm that our contract with UMG expired about a week ago. We have since negotiated to innovate. However, the renewal was just a formality and a courtesy for UMG as a shareholder in Triller. Triller does not need a contract with UMG to continue operations since the relevant artists are already shareholders or partners of Triller and can therefore directly approve their use. Triller has no use for a license agreement with UMG.
We categorically deny that we withheld artist payments (our contract only expired a week), and if anything, UMG uses their stage names as a front to extract ridiculous and unsustainable payments for themselves rather than their artists. They did the exact same thing to TikTok for two years and to virtually every other social network.
It is unfortunate that UMG decided to use the press as a “negotiating lever” when they discovered that we were not being held hostage. UMG is aware that every agreement was made out of respect and courtesy and not out of necessity. We worked without them and nothing in our business has changed
In June 2018, Triller and UMG announced that they had entered into a licensing agreement that would give Triller users access to the entire UMG catalog, which includes Taylor Swift, Drake, Kanye West and other well-known players. That agreement has allegedly expired.
The Triller, founded in 2015, came under fire from several sides last year. The National Music Publishers Association claimed in July 2020 that the video app company had not properly licensed music on its platform. In November, Wixen Music Publishing hit Triller with a $ 50 million copyright infringement lawsuit alleging that Wixen-managed compositions were improperly used in the app. Triller has been embroiled in a lawsuit with TikTok and Chinese parent company ByteDance since July 2020 when the former sued the latter for patent infringement.