Whether you like TikTok or not, there’s no denying that the app has altered how music fans engage with it. Artists and their teams are constantly looking for ways to take advantage of it, figuring out how to get fans to popularise their songs through memes or viral dances. Fiona Apple, however, doesn’t seem to be a fan of having her music reinterpreted on social media. This week, users learned that almost all of her music had been deleted from the app, with the exception of a few obscure songs like her covers of “Across the Universe” by the Beatles and “Frosty the Snowman.” Fans are now questioning whether the action was improper and careless with a vulnerable lyricist.
Although The A.V. Club reports that TikTok and Sony Music Entertainment signed a deal in 2020 to make use of its artists’ music on the app fair game, the removal may be the result of copyright disputes. It’s more likely that Apple, who has been typecast into the heroin-chic segment of pop culture since her debut, didn’t like how her songs were being used to repopularize problematic “sad girl” stereotypes. Some users even went so far as to use the iconic “Sullen Girl” from Apple to create TikToks identifying themselves as “femcels” (ew) or “female manipulators.”
Others were amused by Apple’s swift middle finger to internet culture, while others will now have to find new depressing songs to stare into their phone cameras. In a widely shared Tweet, a user by the name of Grace wrote: “Fiona apple saw that people on tiktok were appropriating her music for their shallow, reductive aesthetics that do nothing but fetishize female pain and she said absolutely the fuck not and i love and respect her so much for that.” Another wrote, “Fiona apple taking all her music off of TikTok is so iconic lol she hates y’all.” Since Apple doesn’t use social media and Mic has contacted her agency for comment, no statements about the update have been made to date. However, it seems likely that Apple went to get some bolt cutters and cut that shit out herself.