For many of the 12 months, TikTok was on the defensive.

The House of Representatives will meet on March 13, 2024 voted to adopt a bill This would lead to the short video app being sold by its Chinese parent company to non-Chinese owners or facing a ban within the US. The Senate has yet to vote on the laws, which received broad bipartisan support resulting from the idea that TikTok poses risks to national security.

Meanwhile, Universal Music Group, one in all the biggest record labels on the planet, has has stopped licensing his music to TikTok End of January 2024. Since then, songs by Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and various other artists don’t have any longer been capable of be used on the platform, while thousands and thousands of TikTok videos containing tracks by Universal artists have been muted.

Universal Music Group has an estimate 37.5% market share within the music industry, so his songs are prone to make up a significant slice of the clips used on TikTok before the ban.

That’s what the record label claims Its artists make up a majority of the songs on the platform, and subsequently Universal artists ought to be higher compensated and have protections in place against the harmful effects of artificial intelligence. In its response, TikTok identified that it had reached an amicable agreement with other record firms and that Universal was behaving unreasonably to the detriment of the artists it desired to protect.

In the tip, each firms simply want an even bigger piece of the pie.

But each of their interests should, for my part, be secondary to the creators they support. Over the past twenty years, because the Internet and streaming revolutionized the music industry, wage gains for music professionals at the highest of the income ladder have been way more pronounced. However, most composers and performers needed to reckon with declining income and employment prospects.

TikTok has grow to be a beacon in an otherwise bleak digital streaming landscape, and while musicians increasingly need TikTok, TikTok also needs music.

Profits have gone up

My research explores the impact of technology about music professionals in the web age.

Technology should democratize the music industryThis will allow more artists to achieve easier access to recent markets.

Artists now not needed a record deal to record their music and release it to the world. They can record music inexpensively using their computers, upload it to YouTube, Spotify, BandCamp, SoundCloud, Tidal, or another music distribution platform, after which promote their work on social media to construct their audience.

However, this didn’t result in more music professionals making a living from their work.

I got here to this conclusion by analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which incorporates two categories of music professionals: performers, who record songs and host live shows, and composers, which include musicians who conduct performances or create original musical works don’t necessarily play this music. A performer could be someone like Dua Lipa, while a composer could possibly be someone credited with writing a track on Dua Lipa’s album.

From 1999 to 2022, composers experienced a pointy increase in employment of 85.3%, representing a rise of 5,380 jobs. This alone suggests that technology has helped music professionals find employment.

However, when you take a look at the highest performers, whose employment figures fell by 14,690 or 31.6%, a special picture emerges.

Taken together, the entire variety of music creators fell by 9,310 people from 1999 to 2022, a decline of 17.6%. The free promotion of social media and the lower barriers to entry that the Internet offered weren’t enough to sustain artists’ livelihoods.

Wages tell a more complex story.

While more people have been making a living composing music since 1999, their wage gains have paled compared to those of artists. In short, there are fewer people working as artists now, but those that make it make more cash.

This seems to indicate that technology has helped most working music professionals.

However, there have been huge gains among the many top 10% of music professionals – so many of the fruits of technological advances went to the highest. The average wage increase for music jobs increases as income increases.

Artist first or artist last?

It is becoming increasingly difficult for artists to make a living, especially for independent artists who’re within the lower income brackets.

The guarantees of technology are sometimes exaggerated; In the case of music, the winners and losers are reflected in the long run broader social inequalities.

Even though technology is not delivering on its promise to artists, artists are increasingly reliant on technology to make a living.

They have increasingly turned to TikTok for this purpose.

TikTok, with greater than a billion energetic users worldwide, has revolutionized music promotion and discovery. Unlike traditional social media, TikTok’s unique format, algorithm-driven content discovery, and collaborative features are said to democratize fame.

Lesser-known artists can go viral, dominate the Billboard charts, and convey songs into the mainstream. Lil Nas became famous on TikTok with “Old Town Road” and was promptly signed to Columbia Records. Oliver Anthony, creator of the populist hit “Rich Men North Of Richmond”, quickly became known in the summertime of 2023 and eventually reached primary on the Billboard Hot 100.

In this era of virality, TikTok has grow to be an important promotional tool for musicians and record labels, pushing the boundaries of traditional social platforms.

By cutting ties with TikTok, Universal Music Group is just not only depriving its artists of those opportunities, but it’s also alienating a big and constant fan base that uses TikTok to interact with their favorite artists and their songs.

TikTok also loses out in this example since music is such an important a part of its audiovisual experience. In a test conducted by TikTok in 2023, the platform restricted the music some users in Australia could use in posts. For three weeks, each the variety of users and the time users spent on the app decreased.

Both parties say they wish to protect artists, argue with TikTok that it has “artist-first agreements with every other label” and that “Universal’s self-serving actions usually are not in one of the best interest of artists, songwriters and fans.”

TikTok is betting on the perception that platforms provide opportunities for cultural creators, saying the platform’s strength is that it’s “a free promotion and discovery tool” for artists. Some members of Congress who opposed the TikTok ban pointed to the platform Benefit for securing the livelihood of the creatorsso this can be a common refrain.

A protester holds a register support of TikTok during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on March 12, 2024.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In response, Universal Music Group has said that TikTok represents an “outdated view” of the fashionable music business, because the app insists that it gives artists exposure – and that that exposure is sweet enough. As my research shows, this free promoting has not increased the variety of artists making a living from music.

TikTok still holds out hope that it might probably “achieve.”an equal agreement with Universal Music Group“But the record company didn’t budge.

The two media firms say they wish to protect artists. But I consider that artists are those who will probably be hurt probably the most by a divorce.

In other words, TikTok and Universal must stay together for the sake of the children.

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