With Universal Music Group (UMG) and TikTok unable to come to terms on a contract, all UMG music was removed from TikTok and any video containing licensed music was muted. Among the artists removed were some of the most high-profile in the world, including Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, and Drake. Many more artists were also impacted as the removal has resulted in millions of songs being taken off the platform. Given that CivicScience data show 57% of U.S. adults consider music important or a passion to them, how much of an impact does this have on TikTok usage?

Polling data in the days following the removal found TikTok users were closely split on whether they were more or less likely to use the platform. While the slim majority of users say it had no impact on them, one-quarter reported they were less likely to use TikTok as a result. Interestingly, TikTok’s older users, particularly adults 55+, are more likely to feel affected by the loss of UMG music. 

Take Our Poll: Would you say you find the majority of your music through social media apps, like TikTok?

Thanks to its tremendous popularity and the reach of viral trends and sounds, TikTok has become a unique social media platform for artists to gain exposure and for consumers to discover new music. Unsurprisingly, recent CivicScience polling finds Gen Z adults are far more likely to utilize TikTok for music discovery, but TikTok is far from the only source for finding new music – they’re also more likely to turn to Spotify, Instagram, or Apple Music. YouTube (both standard and YouTube Music) and Spotify rank high among Gen Pop for music exploration (excluding ‘none of the above’). Meanwhile, adults 55+ lead the way in turning to Amazon Music for new music discovery. 

Surprisingly, even consumers who report they utilize TikTok as a source for finding new music were more likely to use the platform in the wake of UMG’s removal.

Cast Your Vote: How often do you watch music videos on YouTube?

Tune Into Three Insights About Consumers Who Use TikTok to Find Music

  • When asked which genre of music they listen to the most, those who use TikTok to find music were most likely to cite Country (26%) or Rock/Classic Rock (24%).
  • They’re more than twice as likely as those who don’t use TikTok to discover music to say brand is most important to them when shopping. 
  • Nine in ten report a company’s social consciousness and overall kindness is at least ‘somewhat’ important to them when making purchasing decisions. 

If the data is any indication, the loss of UMG’s library of artists has impacted consumer usage of TikTok as one might expect with nearly 3-in-10 turning to the platform for music discovery. Still, TikTok’s ambitions of competing with Spotify in the music realm still have a ways to go. And while it is likely a deal between TikTok and UMG will eventually be reached, budding artists may want to consider leaning into YouTube in the meantime. 

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