TikTok and the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) have signed a multi-year agreement ending an extended standoff between the two parties that included threats of legal action against the popular video-sharing app for copyright infringement by the NMPA.
According to a joint statement, the deal “accounts for TikTok’s past use of musical works and sets up a forward-looking partnership.” It also establishes its legal legitimacy within the music industry, where it has grown to become a widely successful A&R and marketing tool.
On TikTok, users upload short video clips set to music from the in-app catalog, often participating in dance challenges and other viral trends. Tik Tok has licensing deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group, but only with the latter two’s publishing entities — Sony’s Sony/ATV and WMG’s Warner Chappell.
The agreement will allow NMPA members to opt-in to a licensing framework to benefit from use of their works on TikTok and is effective retroactively as of May 1, 2020.
“TikTok is proud to partner with music publishers and songwriters to enable artist and song discovery, and support revenue opportunities. We’re excited to partner with the NMPA to bring their member companies on to the platform and help hundreds of millions of people discover and enjoy their songs,” Ole Obermann, global head of music at TikTok, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with songwriters to help them use TikTok as a powerful and innovative channel to reach a global audience through a unique format of creation and engagement.”