Outsized TikTok Drama as Music Pulled and Feds Accuse

A poster of a factory with smoke coming out of it

Description automatically generatedThis Week: Meetup alert! If you’re in San Diego or going to Social Media and Marketing World, join me on Feb 18 from 5:30-7 – RSVP here for venue! Also, WTF research – The last week of January is apparently ideal for releasing studies – 6 ones of note highlighted in the “Research” section below.

The Day the Music Died: What a spectacle as Universal Music proclaims itself a champion of creators while stripping its music catalog from TikTok and then accusing DoubleT of strong-arming its musicians. Suddenly millions of videos on TikTok essentially disappeared as their music rights evaporated – leaving creators bereft of views, community and commerce. Who needs who more? Who cares – when creators and musicians pay the price. Franklin Graves, creator law expert, breaks down the issues. Possible fallout:

  1. Creators will stop using popular songs to juice video views – less money for musicians.
  2. Non-copyrightable AI-created music will begin to fill the void – less money for musicians, more money for AI.
  3. Creators will spend less time posting on TikTok – good for Instagram and Shorts.
  4. Both TikTok and Universal Music claim victory and position themselves as creator-champions – musicians and creators both lose.
  5. Resilient creators will develop clever workarounds. What? That’s already happened?

Does this remind anyone of when Viacom sued YouTube for six years. That did not end well.

Political Pageantry Might Lead to Real Change: A made-for-TikTok event unfolded in DC as injured families confronted social media CEOs in a US Senate hearing room. The surprisingly non-partisan hearing laid bare the raw and dangerous side of today’s social platforms. An insider shared with me that well-curated spectacle aside, *something* might finally get done. That “something” could be a true weakening of Section 230, as Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham both highlighted this “old law which basically exempts this industry from liability”. Interestingly, guns and social media are the only US industries protected from product liability. Weakening or eliminating Section 230 changes everything.

TikTok Launching Live Shopping “Studios”: Want to take your store live? TikTok will build a new stable of live studios in LA – and possibly elsewhere – to make it easy for creators to drop by and start “streamin-n-sellin”! This proposed factory of streaming cubbies caught Mashable’s ire, but I think their take is misguided. Similar to YouTube’s late lamented Spaces, these studios will offer creators a great way to test and embrace without building their own wired storefront. Orca CEO @Max Benator has a strong take here.

  • Related: You don’t even have to set up a streaming shop, as TikTok now wants to make every video shoppable. It’s not a social video platform, it’s a mall.

The State of AI Generated Video and What’s to Come: AI generated video today suffers from the singing frog paradox. 🐸 We’re all amazed it can sing and ignore that it sounds awful. VC firm a16z reviewed where we are now and what’s to come, listing top startups, sharing examples and gazing into the crystal ball. They call out poor training data, YouTube included, because “cat clips and influencer apologies are likely overrepresented in the dataset”. The piece also predicts a market for workflow and middleware – or a consolidation – before compelling AI generated video comes of age. Not comprehensive – as AugXLabs and others are ignored. But it’s a decent overview.

The Unbearable Lightness of Selling Out: Vox’s Rebecca Jennings railed about how creators need to also market themselves (duh). And since nearly everyone is a creator these days that means we all are sell-outs (exaggerating slightly). Luckily, author John Scalzi to the rescue with a thoughtful tirade on how marketing yourself has been a constant for artists since, like, forever. Further, he argues that that the privileged starving artist ideal is a bourgeois romantic fallacy. Shreds of truth in both stories, but what would you rather have? The gatekeeper-ridden pre-internet, where only a chosen few could create and eat – or a landscape where anyone can find their fans? I’ll choose the latter all day long. (HT to @brad berens)


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  • Four new features rolled out , including research tab updates on desktop studio, a new way to highlight top fan clips on your channel page, new analytics features for playlists, and an automated way to embrace members-first content (Vessel anyone?).
  • Pokimane leaves Twitch for YouTube and other platforms – after being banned in January. Get yer popcorn out.






  • Want to measure audience stickiness? @courtney Hirsch riffs on a LinkedIn conversation we had to focus on a few key metrics, including viewership over the first three days of posting. Sort of like the Neilsen Live+3 and Live+7 metrics from the TV DVR era.

NEWSLETTER SPOTLIGHT: Check out Brooke Hammerling’s insightful and entertaining “Pop Culture Mondays”. I now know things I never knew I wanted to know. And will never unsee Brienne of Tarth’s start turn on a Parisian runway.

SPONSOR THIS NEWSLETTER: Want to reach 22,000 leaders in the creator economy? check out Inside the Creator’s sponsorship packages and/or email me at jim@louderback.com

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I’ve built and sold multiple creator economy startups to top media companies – including Discovery and Paramount. Subscribe here on LinkedIn to get this newsletter every Monday.

Thanks for reading and see you around the internet. Send me a note with your feedback, or post in the comments!

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