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TikTok’s fallout with Universal Music Group is ruining viral trends and thirsty fancams

A screenshot of Pedro Pascal taken from Kingsman: The Golden Circle, edited to resemble a fandom reaction image.
TikTok users were not best pleased when the removal of UMG-owned music muted their favorite Pedro Pascal fan edit. | Image: 20th Centuary Fox / Canva / The Verge

Remember TikTok’s thirsty Pedro Pascal fan edits? For several months beginning in January 2023, many of us couldn’t open the video platform without being blasted by the familiar sound of Shaggy’s “Hey Sexy Lady” hit, to which many of the biggest videos were set. If you dive back into any of those videos now, you’ll find that swathes of these filtered, edited clips of the Chilean actor have been completely muted — because “Hey Sexy Lady,” along with many other popular songs used in viral trends, have been taken off TikTok.

Last week, TikTok failed to reach a deal to renew licensing rights with Universal Music Group (UMG), leading to thousands, potentially millions, of songs from UMG’s library being suddenly removed from the platform….

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