It all started when a video posted by a Nigerian influencer featuring a hit track from Burna Boy, was suddenly silent, with a message that read, "This sound isn't available." Universal Music Group (UMG), the music powerhouse behind some of your favourite artists like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, and others, has pulled the plug on TikTok.

The drama unfolded just a day before UMG's licensing contract with TikTok was set to expire. UMG didn't hold back, and they made their dissatisfaction public with a fiery open letter. They accused TikTok of not offering fair compensation for their music and allowing AI-generated tunes to flood the platform, which, in turn, diminished the earnings of real, hardworking musicians.

TikTok didn't take this lying down and responded with strong words, accusing UMG of prioritising their own greed over the interests of their artists and songwriters. They pointed out that UMG decided to walk away from a platform with well over a billion users, a platform that had been instrumental in promoting and discovering their talent for free.

The fallout was swift and brutal. Recordings by UMG artists vanished from TikTok's music library, and existing videos using UMG tracks had their audio silenced entirely. Users were left frustrated, unable to add Universal songs to their new videos. As of now, it's unclear how many videos have been affected by this showdown, but the Nigerian TikTok community is feeling the impact. Some videos with UMG music remain unaffected, but the tension between UMG and TikTok lingers.

Representatives from both UMG and TikTok have remained tight-lipped about their negotiations or the reasons behind this music withdrawal. However, one thing is certain; UMG's bold move has sent shockwaves through the music industry. TikTok, with it's massive user base, has become an essential platform for music promotion in Africa, helping emerging and established artists alike.

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