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Taylor Swift Songs Return to TikTok



Taylor Swift

In a surprise move, Taylor Swift‘s songs have returned to TikTok after a ten-week hiatus amid a licensing dispute between the app and Universal Music Group.

As of Thursday morning, multiple Swift songs — including “You Belong With Me,” “Lover,” “Cardigan,” “Mirrorball,” “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” “Cruel Summer,” “Cardigan,” “Style (Taylor’s Version),” “Is It Over Now? (Taylor’s Version),” “The Man” and “ME!” — were available on the TikTok app for users to incorporate into their videos.

Swift’s catalog of music was among the tracks pulled from TikTok in February, after the app company and UMG failed to renew a licensing pact that expired Jan. 31. Universal Music accused TikTok of trying to “bully” the music company into a deal worth less than their previous agreement — and alleged TikTok was not willing to address AI and piracy concerns. TikTok countered that Universal was engaging in “false narrative and rhetoric.”

However, it seems likely that the platform reached a separate deal with Swift, who owns her masters and presumably would have the ability to strike her own arrangement, even though her music is distributed by UMG and the ban has extended to all artists with similar deals. While TikTok is responsible for muting UMG’s music on the platform, songs by artists signed to or distributed by UMG — including Ariana Grande and Camila Cabello, as noted by Variety last month — continue to pop up on the platform, posted by fans or, some suspect, representatives of the artists themselves.

Asked for clarification about the reappearance of Swift’s songs on the app, a TikTok rep said “we don’t have anything to share on this.” Variety has also reached out to Universal Music Group and Swift’s reps for comment.

In 2020, Swift signed an exclusive global publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group, after being with Sony/ATV since she the beginning of her career. In late February, TikTok removed songs licensed from Universal Music Publishing, after the earlier removal of recordings owned or distributed by UMG.

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