Sing Holy Forever … or Until TikTok Pulls the Audio

What Universal Music Group’s catalog removal means for our favorites from Hillsong, Kari Jobe, Chris Tomlin, and more.

Your favorite worship artist may be raising fewer hallelujahs on TikTok now that the world’s largest music company is pulling its entire catalog from the app due to a licensing dispute.

Last week, Universal Music Group (UMC) said it would “cease licensing content” to TikTok and began removing songs and recordings, including Christian worship hits released through Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG).

The UMG-owned Christian record label has signed and acquired the catalogs of some of today’s most influential Christian musicians: Hillsong, Kari Jobe, Passion, Amy Grant, Anne Wilson, Brooke Ligertwood, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Mac Powell, Tauren Wells, TobyMac, and We the Kingdom. As CT reported last year, CCMG has claimed to have a 60 percent market share of the top 10 worship songs used in churches.

So along with removing audio from Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour performances, most of Hillsong UNITED’s TikTok profile now has no audio. Several of Chris Tomlin’s videos were muted over the weekend. The removal process takes time and may affect new uploads more than existing video content. The story is still developing, so it remains to be seen how comprehensive UMG’s enforcement will be.

Because TikTok’s algorithm pushes videos with trending audio tracks, many of today’s artists want to see their music go viral on the app; it’s a major platform for exposure to a young, global audience. The move has brought uncertainty to Christian and mainstream musicians alike.

How will this change on TikTok affect the Christian music industry?

As Christian music becomes increasingly enmeshed with the mainstream music industry, artists in the niche will find that their songs, while created …

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