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Sony Music Entertainment CEO Won’t Rule Out TikTok Removal—Comments on ‘Astonishingly Small’ Payouts

Sony Music CEO comments on potential music removal from TikTok

Photo Credit: Sony Music

Will Sony Music pull its music from TikTok? CEO Rob Stringer won’t rule out the possibility—potentially lining up the second largest music publisher to join UMG’s boycott of the platform.

Universal Music Group pulled out of the platform earlier this year after failing to reach an agreement on licensing its music for the platform. Some of the world’s most popular artists including Taylor Swift, Adele, Harry Styles, and more are now muted on the platform. UMG says “TikTok is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music.”

Now in a profile with the Financial Times, Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer says he won’t rule out the possibility of pulling their music from the platform, too. Stringer was behind the decision to remove Sony Music from Resso—a music streaming service owned by ByteDance. That removal also came as Sony Music and Resso failed to reach a new licensing agreement for its music.

Stringer calls music integral to TikTok’s “profit center, and therefore we should share in those profits.” Stringer also comments on the state of music rights and how investment companies like Hipgnosis and private equity groups will in the long term, look after artists and the value of those recorded works.

“I put my money where my mouth is and put hundreds of millions of dollars back into the artist’s hands,” Stringer says “We can make even more money because of our expertise. Do I like hedge funds talking about how they’re in the music space? I am cynical about what will happen.”

Meanwhile, Warner Music CEO Robert Kyncl has stated that his company is happy with their TikTok deal. “I’m always very confident in the deals that we do. We don’t follow other companies. We don’t do carbon copies of other deals, we do our own, which is why we did the one last year,” Kyncl said of his company’s relationship with TikTok.

“Our deal was very difficult too, but we got there and for us it was fair, but it was a year ago. It was also a different time.” Kyncl told investors during a financial call that social media contributes to the virality of their music videos, helping increase user engagement and making music more popular.

“There are mutual benefits here. And it’s just about what is the right fair-value exchange. And sometimes you have to go through the price discovery and pull this kind of step [referring to pulling music from the platform], and that’s OK too, because people find out exactly what it is and what it means for them.”

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