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Universal Music Will Pull Its Tracks From TikTok

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Universal Music is Removing its Tracks From TikTok After Failing to Reach New Rights Agreement

This could have a big impact on TikTok, especially considering the rising role that music now plays in the app.  

After negotiations between TikTok and Universal Music Group failed to reach a new agreement on usage rights, Universal has announced that it will withdraw its music from the app, as of Feb. 1.

Universal, which is home to some of the biggest music stars on the planet, including Taylor Swift, Adele, Drake, and Billie Eilish, says that TikTok offered less than it had hoped on both compensation for its artists, as well as safeguards about generative AI usage.

Unversal’s current rights agreement with TikTok, which it originally signed in 2021, will end on Jan. 31, after which time all Universal-owned content will be removed from the app.

As per Universal:

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“[Universal and TikTok] have not agreed to terms for a new agreement, and upon expiration of the current agreement, Universal Music Group, including Universal Music Publishing Group, will cease licensing content to TikTok and TikTok Music services.”

Universal has gone so far as to say that TikTok tried to “bully” them in the negotiations, by using its audience reach as a means to reduce the current payment arrangement.  

As our negotiations continued, TikTok attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth. How did it try to intimidate us? By selectively removing the music of certain of our developing artists, while keeping on the platform our audience-driving global stars. TikTok’s tactics are obvious: use its platform power to hurt vulnerable artists and try to intimidate us into conceding to a bad deal that undervalues music and shortchanges artists and songwriters as well as their fans.”

Universal further claimed that TikTok “is trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music.”

In response, TikTok has said that it’s disappointed that Universal has walked away from a “free promotional and discovery vehicle” for its artists.

But even though TikTok is holding its ground, and making a strong public stand, this is going to be a big blow for the app, especially considering that TikTok made music a much bigger focus of late, as it works to capitalize on its rising value as a music discovery platform.

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Indeed, a TikTok commissioned report published last November showed that TikTok users are significantly more likely to both discover and share new music content in the app, while 75% of its users also find new artists via TikTok clips.

That, in turn, has also made TikTok a critical consideration for record labels looking to showcase their latest artists and tracks. The platform has already sparked new careersrejuvenated older ones, and even now has some artists changing the names of their songs to better align with in-app trends.

Given this, you can see why TikTok could view itself as being of more value to record labels than the other way round, which would have played into these negotiations. But the final outcome, that so much popular music will be pulled, will have a big impact, for both sides.

As such, I would assume that, somehow, the parties will come back to the negotiating table and rectify this through a compromise of some sort.

But as of now, it looks like a lot of pop songs are about to go silent in the app, which could spark a lot of confusion, and frustration for TikTok users.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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