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UGC Platforms Are Redefining The Music Copyright Space

Since the emergence of User-Generated Content (UGC) platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, the music industry has undergone a significant transformation. Thanks to these platforms, it has never been easier to share and promote one's music.

However, it is important to note that new challenges have arisen, particularly regarding the dissemination of content created on these platforms, which threatens our ability to manage copyright effectively. In today's blog, we delve into detail on how UGC platforms redefined the music industry as a whole, influencing not only the creation and distribution of music but also the economic models and legal challenges they face.

UGC platforms on a person's phone

UGC Platforms: The Impact On Music Creation And Distribution

Since the respective arrivals of YouTube Instagram, and more recently TikTok, these platforms have fundamentally changed the process of music creation and distribution. Thanks to their precise algorithms, they now offer instant global visibility to artists and allow them to reach a much wider audience, whether they are emerging or have already established their brand for many years. These platforms even facilitate direct interaction between artists and their audience, with features such as comments, shares, and likes contributing to community building around music, thereby enhancing sharing and engagement.

It isn’t uncommon for artists to see their music explode upon release after sharing excerpts on TikTok and Instagram for several months before the official launch to generate excitement. Tracks like "Miserable Man" and "Daylight" by David Kushner, released in 2022 and 2023, are perfect examples, among the most used soundtracks by users for many weeks, becoming viral and providing strong promotion for the young artist. His music reached 10 million views in less than 2 weeks on YouTube, propelling him into the spotlight and allowing him to record his first EP.

UGC platforms contribute heavily to music’s cyclical nature, and can also help revive older songs in new contexts and in front of new fanbases. On platforms like TikTok, it is common to see young influencers dancing or starting "Trends," which are viral video trends accompanied by background music. These songs are reused by thousands of subscribers for their content, whether it's dance videos, lifestyle content, challenges, etc. For most trends that emerge, they often use titles from the 2000s, or even older, thus bringing back to the spotlight some gems that have marked generations and giving the idea to some to release a reissue.

Remuneration Of Artists On UGC Platforms

On platforms such as Instagram & TikTok, artist payments stem from licensing agreements between the platform and record labels as well as copyright management organizations. The platform’s economic model primarily relies on advertising, notably through video ads integrated into users' content feeds, with a portion of this revenue then distributed to music rights holders.

This was placed in jeopardy, however, when at the end of January, Universal Group decided to not renew its contract with TikTok for reasons related to copyright, content moderation, and artist remuneration, prompting the platform to remove Universal's entire catalog, representing 30% of the music used by users.

YouTube's approach differs somewhat as the platform lacks licensing agreements with labels. Consequently, creators don't have the option to choose licensed music directly on the platform. If creators wish to incorporate licensed music into their videos, they must directly request the rights to use the music and may need to pay a variable amount based on the commercial level of the artist. Any creator who uses copyrighted music can be subject to video takedowns, and even channel closures, and this problem is unfortunately rife within the YouTube space.

Challenges For Copyright

Creators of UGC content often incorporate copyrighted music into their videos without necessarily using licensed or royalty-free tracks on these platforms. This raises complex issues regarding the compensation of artists and rights holders, as unauthorized use of music can lead to copyright infringement.

To ensure the protection of artists' rights, these platforms deploy technologies such as YouTube's Content ID, which automatically identifies videos containing copyrighted content. But, it is important to note that these technologies are growing more and more redundant when it comes to holistic copyright protection, as they are unable to detect the more modern forms of infringements. These include unlicensed covers, modified audio and AI-generated deepfakes, all of which are growing in numbers on UGC platforms.

At MatchTune, we strive to be a key player in tackling these issues and extending our support, and this led us to launch CoverNet, a comprehensive tool equipped with AI capabilities to detect every single use of your copyright across UGC and streaming platforms. CoverNet embodies our aim to streamline rights management processes, empowering artists and music labels with detailed content analysis and facilitating their receipt of rightful royalties.

You can learn more about CoverNet here.


It is undeniable that User-Generated Content (UGC) platforms have revolutionized the music industry, granting artists instantaneous global exposure and rejuvenating overlooked music. This shift brings about challenges, especially concerning copyright protection and fair compensation for artists, and it's therefore crucial for the music industry to continuously seek innovative approaches to ensure equitable compensation and robust copyright safeguarding in this dynamic landscape.

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