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You’re not imagining it: Some OPM songs are really disappearing from TikTok videos

The popular video-sharing app TikTok is undergoing a significant makeover after several of its tracks were taken down, including songs by Filo artists Juan Karlos and Zack Tabudlo.

Following the expiration of their contract with TikTok at the end of January, Universal Group, the leading record label in the world, pulled out the songs of its artists from the site.

Since the app launched in 2016, TikTok has evolved into a platform for musicians to promote themselves. However, viewers were taken aback as they were unable to use their favorite songs from local and international artists, such as Juan Karlos and Zack Tabudlo, in their videos.

Although there is still a version of “Ere” available on TikTok released by Island Records Philippines—a label under UMG Philippines that handles Juan Karlos—the original song recording is inaccessible.

Similarly, the official audio of Zack’s viral hit song “Yakap” is unavailable, but a user-recorded version may still be used.

The two artists are contracted to Universal Music Group (UMG) Philippines, the company’s local branch, which failed to negotiate a new license with TikTok.

In an open letter titled “Why We Must Call Time Out on TikTok,” UMG outlined several concerns, including the company’s alleged failure to adequately compensate composers and musicians and to shield them from the consequences of artificial intelligence. They also mention TikTok’s proposal to pay the artists a “fraction of the rate” that other massive social media sites pay.

TikTok, however, said in a statement that UMG’s narrative is “false” and that the company’s actions did not serve the interests of composers, musicians, and fans.

Songs by Taylor Swift, BTS, Billie Eilish, and Drake are among the list of global UMG artists whose music has also been pulled from the site.

Meanwhile, their music is available on other streaming platforms like Spotify, where Juan Karlos broke a record by being the first Filipino to appear in the Top 100 global charts last year.


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