How the latest TikTok change is affecting Orthodontists.


That’s how many active monthly TikTok users there are worldwide. And starting February 1, 2024, every single one of them is going to notice a massive change to the content they are consuming and/or creating.

The change?

On January 31, a licensing agreement between TikTok and Universal Music Group (UMG), (the company that owns the rights to over 1 million songs available on TikTok) expired, forcing a majority of the songs you hear on the app to be pulled from the library. 

And it doesn’t just affect new videos going forward… it retroactively goes back and removes the songs from all previously created content! 

What Music Was Removed from TikTok?

Some of the artists included in the removal: 

  • Taylor Swift
  • Lady Gaga
  • The Weeknd
  • Bad Bunny
  • Billie Eilish
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Coldplay
  • U2
  • Elton John
  • Bob Dylan
  • and thousands of others.

Artists will have the ability to negotiate separately with TikTok, but it is unclear what that process or timing looks like.

Why did the licensing agreement negotiations fail?

Money, of course. 

A spokesperson for UMG accused TikTok of “trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair share for the music rights”, and that “TikTok is only paying a fraction of the rate that other major platforms pay, such as Spotify or Apple Music.”

I get it. Artists need to be fairly compensated for their music, right?! So what I find interesting is that not all artists are happy about this change.

Take Cody Fry for example. He is an up-and-coming artist who is in the beginning stages of watching his latest song “Things You Said” go viral! On January 30th, he had 769,000 TikTok users create a video using his newest song. 769k IN A SINGLE DAY! That is the type of traction that most artists could only dream of!

Now, because Cody Fry is part of the Universal Music Group, his song has been pulled from the app and his momentum has stalled. His argument for keeping music on TikTok is that users often discover new music on the app for the first time, but then go over to streaming apps like Apple Music or Spotify to download or listen to the song in its entirety. He is arguing artists DO benefit from the viral sensation of a song, even if it is not paid out directly from TikTok themselves.

How does this affect an orthodontic practice?

Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

Generally speaking, all business TikTok accounts didn’t have access to the UMG library of songs to begin with, because it wouldn’t make sense that a business could profit off a song without paying for it. 

So that being said, if a practice that was actively using TikTok was set up correctly, it should not affect any of their videos.

If the practice account was set up as a personal account, and you were creating videos with the songs everyone knows and loves… you might notice that your videos now have no sound to them. The good news? TikTok is making it easy to replace the missing songs with a library of songs that ARE approved to use.

Our recommendations for setting up a TikTok account for your orthodontic practice? Set up your account as a business account as you will have access to TikTok’s Commercial Music Library, “which has more than 1.3 million royalty-free and copyright-free sounds available for your commercial use”, and you’ll be protected from any potential music copyright issues.

That's all for now. Happy creating!