Taylor Swift's music was quickly pulled from TikTok, leaving Swifties no choice but to record their own versions of the artist's songs.
Universal Music Group, one of the “Big Three” music companies, sparked a chaotic era for fans when it pulled its catalog from the platform after failing to reach a deal with TikTok.
A UMG spokesperson told NBC News that the company's agreements with TikTok expired due to TikTok's “unwillingness to adequately compensate artists and songwriters, protect human artists from the harmful effects of artificial intelligence, and address online safety issues for TikTok users.” in a year statementTikTok called UMG's claims “false,” saying the company “puts its greed above the interests of its artists and songwriters.”
As a result, UMG, which has no connection to NBC News or NBC Universal, removed thousands of songs by popular artists from the platform this week, including Swift's entire catalog. Now, hundreds of thousands of TikToks, some with millions of views, are silent and reading, “Audio removed due to copyright restrictions.”
But Swift's fans on TikTok have developed a workaround: singing the songs themselves. The quick technical fix has led to a number of people filming themselves wearing the belts, sometimes out of control, and posting the hilarious results.
Other TikTok creators are using popular non-copyrighted stock music instead, with similar humorous effects.
A representative for Swift did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Angela, a Swift fan from Argentina who spoke on the condition that her last name not be published, has been posting covers of Swift songs on TikTok for more than five months. Now, some of these covers are being used in TikTok videos about Swift instead of Swift's songs.
“I want people to enjoy it and if it helps them too then even better,” Angela said in a direct message. “It helps me too, because more people will be able to listen to my songs and learn more about my account.”
Other Swift fans have realized that there are ways to game the new copyright system — by speeding up or slowing down the audio in Swift songs, or changing the pitch of songs — and they can still publish it without automatic detection.
Angela believes TikTok and UMG will eventually reach a new agreement, allowing Swift's fans to use her songs in TikTok videos again. Until then, she wrote, Swift's fans will likely continue to find creative ways to incorporate Swift's music into videos.
“I'm sure fans will find all kinds of ways to include Taylor's songs,” she wrote.
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