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Navigating the Universal Music Group Withdrawal on TikTok for Genealogy Content Creators

The TikTok community along with the genealogy community faces a new challenge that could significantly impact past content we posted already on the platform. The recent breakdown in negotiations between TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG) has led to UMG's announcement to withdraw its music from TikTok starting February 1, 2024. This development has far-reaching implications, especially for those in the genealogy community who rely on music to enhance their storytelling and audience engagement.

UMG, home to renowned artists like Taylor Swift, Adele, and Drake, has accused TikTok of undervaluing its music content. The existing agreement, signed in 2021, will end on January 31, after which all UMG-owned music will be removed from TikTok. This decision comes amidst concerns about compensation.

The genealogy community on TikTok often utilizes music to add emotional depth and appeal to their content. Music has been a key tool in storytelling, helping to convey the rich histories and personal narratives that genealogists work so hard to uncover. The withdrawal of UMG's music catalog could lead to...

  • A decrease in the quality and appeal of genealogical content due to limited music choices.

  • Potential removal or muting of existing videos containing UMG music.

  • The need for content creators to rethink their strategy and find alternative musical options.

In light of these changes, genealogy content creators may need to explore other avenues:

  • Utilizing royalty-free or independent music as alternatives.

  • Focusing on narrations and ambient sounds to maintain the emotional impact.

  • Leveraging TikTok's existing sound library, which might still offer a range of options outside of UMG's catalog.

While the current situation poses challenges, it also opens up opportunities for creativity and innovation in content creation. The genealogy community is known for its resourcefulness and adaptability, and this situation calls for exactly that.

Despite the uncertainty, this could be a temporary setback. There is a possibility that TikTok and UMG might return to the negotiating table. However, in the meantime, genealogy content creators must adapt to these changes to continue engaging their audiences effectively.

One final note I want to share is if you do find that you suddenly have videos without sound, removed or muted, do not delete the content. By deleting it, you will be affecting your analytics, which are crucial for understanding your audience engagement and reach. Instead, I recommend either remaking the video or downloading it and adding new sound. This approach allows you to preserve your content's integrity and continuity, ensuring your hard work doesn't go to waste and your audience remains engaged.

The removal of UMG's music from TikTok is a significant development with tangible implications for the genealogy community on the platform. While it poses challenges, it also encourages us to explore new creative paths and remain adaptable. As we navigate these changes, it's crucial to stay informed and look for innovative ways to continue sharing our passion for genealogy on social media.


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